The return of fresh asparagus to the farmers market is my favorite sign that spring has sprung. That moment will be here before we know it, so it’s time to start thinking about how you want to cook it once you get your hands on those gorgeous green stalks.
The beauty of asparagus is that it lends itself to a lot of different cooking methods, and we’re laying out all them in one handy spot. Consider this your asparagus cheat sheet to get you through spring.
Step One: Choose the Best Bunch of Asparagus
Whether you’re shopping in the produce section of your grocery store or at the farmers market, asparagus is most often sold in one-pound bundles, which include anywhere from 18 to 24 spears depending on size and thickness.
When shopping, it’s helpful at have a loose game plan for your asparagus, as that can help you decide between thin or thick spears.
- Thin spears take well to being blanched for a salad, steamed, sautéed, and eaten raw.
- Thick spears are the better choice for grilling and roasting, and are also nice for steaming.
Regardless of thickness, choose a bunch of asparagus with plump, straight stems, and avoid any with wrinkly stems or dry, split, or excessively woody ends.
More About Buying and Storing Asparagus
- 3 Tips for Picking a Better Bunch of Asparagus
- The Complete Guide To Asparagus
- A Foolproof Plan for Extraordinary Asparagus
- What’s the Difference Between White and Green Asparagus?
- The Best Way to Store Asparagus
How to Sauté Asparagus
Cut 1 pound asparagus (rinsed and trimmed) into 2-inch pieces.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add the asparagus and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and cook, stirring until tender, 3 to 4 minutes for thin spears, or 6 to 8 minutes for thick spears.
How to Blanch Asparagus
Prepare an ice bath and set aside. Bring a wide pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add 1 pound asparagus (trimmed), whole or in pieces. Cook for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the asparagus to the water bath. Once cool, remove from the water bath and pat dry.
Read more: How To Blanch Asparagus
How to Steam Asparagus on the Stovetop
Add 1 inch of water and 2 teaspoons kosher salt to a wide, shallow pot or high-sided pan, and place a steamer insert in the pot. Bring the water to a boil.
Place 1 pound whole asparagus spears (rinsed and trimmed) in a single layer in the steamer, working in batches if necessary. Cover and cook until knife-tender, 2 to 3 minutes for thin spears and 4 to 5 minutes for thick spears.
How to Steam Asparagus in the Microwave
Dampen 4 paper towels and place on a large plate. Top with 1 pound asparagus (rinsed and trimmed) in a single layer, and season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Roll the paper towels and asparagus into a spiral bundle. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.
Read more: How To Steam Asparagus in the Microwave
How to Grill Asparagus
Drizzle 1 pound thick asparagus (rinsed, trimmed, and dried) with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Thread two skewers (soaked if wooden) through five to six asparagus spears to hold them together. Cook over direct high heat for 4 minutes. Flip with tongs and cook another 2 to 4 minutes on the other side.
Read more: How To Grill Even Better Asparagus
How To Cook Asparagus
- 1 tablespoon
- 1 pound
asparagus, rinsed, trimmed, and dried
- 1/4 teaspoon
Heat the oven. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F.
Prepare the asparagus. Place the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the oil, and season with the salt. Use your hands to coat the asparagus and arrange in a single layer.
Roast the asparagus. Roast, flipping halfway through, until lightly browned and crisp-tender, 12 to 15 minutes total, depending on thickness.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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