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