In Season: How to Prepare and Cook Asparagus

Feb 20, 2013
E. Brandy

asparagus cooking picture

Asparagus has green spears that are delicate and thin while some specimens are thicker and harder. In season from late february through springtime, asparagus are now available all year long at supermarkets. But the best asparagus are sold by local markets where farmers sell their seasonal inventory. There are white, green and purple varieties of asparagus. White and purple specimens are better known in Europe. White asparagus is the same specie as green but it is grown under cover to avoid the greening process. White asparagus are a bit harder but they have a more delicate and subtle nutty flavor.

Asparagus is easy to prepare and relatively quick to cook. Most of the time you’ll go for steamed asparagus, I encourage you to try them roasted or grilled. Cooking asparagus in oven is simply wonderful. But never overcook them. Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.

How to buy and store asparagus

White, green or purple specimens can be good. Look for plump spears with intact tips and avoid spears that look too hard and stringy. You’ll find that some markets store asparagus stem down in fresh water, which is good but not absolutely necessary. Store asparagus wrapped in plastic in your refrigerator’s crisper. Don’t wait too much to cook them.

Preparing asparagus

Break off the bottom of the spear; it should break in the right place without effort. You should peel asparagus to remove the fibrous skin from the tip to the base of the stem. If asparagus are very thin, it’s not necessary to peel them. More on peeling asparagus here.

What are the best cooking methods

Almost all cooking methods are fine: steaming, roasting in oven, sautéing and grilling are great. Asparagus is done when you can pick a skewer easily into the thickest part of the stalk. If you undercooked asparagus, they will stay crisp while overcooked asparagus are soft and mushy.

Great asparagus recipes

And now here’s a little link roundup about great asparagus recipes:

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