Three Ways to Cook Asparagus

Posted on: May 01, 2016

 

These springtime stalks are jam-packed with nutrients and flavor

How much did Roman emperors love asparagus? They reportedly gave special fleets the task of finding these veggie spears and bringing them to the empire.

Perhaps asparagus gave ancient rulers the stamina they needed to conquer the world. “A cup of cooked asparagus has only 40 calories, but it’s got nearly 4 grams of fiber and 4½ grams of protein, which is this awesome, ideal combination for keeping us full longer,” says Torey Armul, a registered dietitian nutritionist and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. One cup also has significantly more potassium, iron and folate than an equal amount of raw spinach.

During asparagus season, typically between April and June, shoppers should look for tightly closed buds at the top, as well as moist ends (dryness indicates age). Because asparagus spoils quickly, Armul suggests “treating it like a bouquet of flowers.” Before refrigerating, slice about half an inch off the bottoms and place the spears upright in a shallow dish of water, or wrap their ends in a damp paper towel. Once you’ve pampered your veggies properly, check out these three ways to cook them.

ROAST IT

Snap asparagus ends off at their natural breaking point, about one-third up from the bottom. If stalks are thick, peel them, leaving buds intact. Place spears on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss asparagus gently to coat with oil and roast at 425 F for 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with crumbled hard-boiled egg.

STEAM IT

Snap ends off and, if needed, peel as indicated in roasting instructions. Fill bottom half of steamer pot with water and bring to a boil. Add steamer basket with asparagus and cook for 3 to 8 minutes, depending on stems’ thickness. The finished stalks should yield easily when pierced with a fork. Serve with melted butter and fresh lemon juice.

GRILL IT

Snap ends off as indicated in roasting instructions. Toss asparagus in a bowl with olive oil, minced garlic, sea salt and pepper. Place stalks perpendicular to the grates so they don’t slide through. Grill over medium heat for about five minutes, turning frequently. (They can also be heated atop aluminum foil.) Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Filed under: 2016

 

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