Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How to Choose, Store and Cook Asparagus

Size isn't an indicator of quality or flavor. Thick asparagus is just more mature than the thin kind. Look for bright green or violet tinged spears with firm stems. Make sure the tips are closed and compact.

When you get it home wash it well, they're grown in a sandy soil and can be gritty. Snap the bottoms, bending an inch or so from the bottom until the woody, dry sections break off. Wrap the ends in a damp paper towel for up to 3 days. You can even treat it like fresh flowers and place in a vase, covering the tops with a plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator.

Choose one of these cooking methods:

Steamed - Pour 1 inch of water into a 12 inch skillet with a tight fitting lid. Bring the water to a boil and add the asparagus. Cover and steam until tender 4-6 minutes.

Roasted - Heat over to 425. On a baking sheet, toss asparagus with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Roast until tender 8-10 minutes.

Grilled - Toss asparagus with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place asparagus across grill in opposite directions of the grid. Grill for 3 minutes. Rotate spears until cooked 2-3 minutes.

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