Thursday, March 11, 2010

Asparugus



Fresh asparagus is not only good for you it is delicious as well as easy to prepare. I made it as a side dish for a Chinese themed dinner so I topped it with oyster sauce in the photo.

But…it can be flavored in soooooooooo many ways.
• Always kosher salt and pepper
• Butter
• Olive oil
• Lemon
• Sprinkled with parmesan cheese
• Stir fry with a little oil, garlic & ginger and flavor with soy or oyster sauce
• Topped with hollandaise
• Served cold with a marinade of soy, sugar, garlic, sesame oil & toasted sesame seeds (my friend shared this with me years ago, thanks Debbie)


I prefer the small pencil sized asparagus. But if there are only the thicker ones available, peel the stems with a vegetable peeler to remove the stringy part.

To prepare it, simply hold the middle and bottom between your fingers in each hand and bend it until it breaks. That is were the tough part is and discard it. Cut all the pieces to that length. Then either leave it whole or cut it in half keeping the tops and bottoms separate.

BLANCHED
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and place the bottoms in for 2 minutes, then add the tops and cook for another 1- 2 min. (If you leave them whole, use a sauté pan, they will fit better and cook for 4 minutes) Drain and flavor.

Tip: If you want to make your asparagus ahead of time for a stir fry or for a salad or simply because you have time and you want one less thing to do later. Drop the asparagus in an ice water bath and drain to keep its color and stop the cooking.
If you plan to serve it as a hot side dish just pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute to reheat. Just long enough to heat it through but not cook it.

ROASTED
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place asparagus on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Toss in some zucchini or summer squash, sliced red pepper, onions and mushrooms and you will have a wonderful roasted vegetable melody. Don’t forget to sprinkle a little more kosher salt & pepper over the finished product.

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