How to Cook Asparagus Five Ways

Asparagus to Roast
Asparagus to Roast. Diana Rattray

 When asparagus overcooks, it loses its flavor, nutrients, and color.  Here's how to prepare and cook asparagus five ways.

How to Prepare Asparagus for Cooking

Soak 1 pound of asparagus spears in cold water for several minutes, swishing gently to remove any sand or grit.

If the asparagus stalks are quite thick, peel them with a vegetable peeler or a special asparagus peeling tool.

To trim the asparagus, gently bend each spear until the tougher end snaps off. Alternatively, you can trim the ends with a knife. Cut where the color of the stalk becomes a paler shade of green.

If appearance is an issue, put the stalks together and trim with a knife, so they are even in length.

Discard the ends or put them aside to use for vegetable broth. 

How to Roast Asparagus

Heat the oven to 450° F (230° C/Gas 8).

Toss the prepared asparagus spears with 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and then sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Arrange the asparagus evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, occasionally turning, until the asparagus is just tender. 

How to Steam Asparagus

Use a large pan with a wire basket. Put an inch or two of water in the pan so it is below the basket. Bring the water to a boil.

Put the asparagus in the basket and lower the basket into the pan.

Cover the pan, reduce the heat, and steam for about 4 to 6 minutes, or until the asparagus is crisp-tender.

How to Boil Asparagus

Put the asparagus spears in a large skillet or saute pan and cover with water. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt to the water.

Bring the water to a simmer on the stovetop. Cover the pan and cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until the asparagus is crisp-tender.

How to Cook Asparagus in the Microwave

Arrange the asparagus in a large microwave-safe baking dish. Add a few tablespoons of water to the baking dish.

Cover the dish and microwave the asparagus on high for about 3 minutes or until the spears are crisp-tender.

How to Cook Asparagus in an Asparagus Pot

An asparagus cooker is a tall, narrow pot with a steaming basket and lid. The thicker stalks boil while the tips gently steam.

Place the asparagus in the steaming basket, tips up. Set aside.

Put 2 inches of water in the pot. Bring the water to a boil.

Put the basket with asparagus in the pot. Cover and boil for about 3 to 5 minutes. 

Recipes Using Asparagus