By Lori Powell
Spring brings asparagus season and with it the many ways of cooking and serving the lovely stalks. I eat so much of it in season that I have to start pacing myself early on.
The great thing about this versatile veggie is that you can steam, boil, grill, broil or roast it to perfection – just make sure that you don’t under or over cook it.
Asparagus have a natural break in the stem between the tough ends and the tender stalks. To trim, simply snap off the end and it will break in just the right place. Discard the stems or use them to flavor broth or soup; they’re tough, so remove them before serving.
The test of a perfectly cooked asparagus stalk is to hold it between your fingers, shaking it and if it wiggles slightly, you are good to go!
Here are two different approaches to cooked asparagus: one hot; one cold. The first version, roasted asparagus, would be great served with steak or salmon and the cold version, served with aioli, would be lovely as an appetizer or as a side for lunch. Simply cut the recipe in half to serve fewer people.
Serves 4 to 6
1 bunch medium asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon good olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Parmesan shavings
Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss asparagus in oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in one layer on a sheet pan and roast, shaking pan occasionally until just tender, about 10 minutes.
Drizzle balsamic vinegar over asparagus and roast for 1 minute more or until vinegar is reduced to a glaze.
Transfer with tongs to a serving platter and top with shaved Parmesan.
To get the Roasted Asparagus recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.
Asparagus with Lemon Aioli
Serves 4 to 6
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1 bunch medium thick asparagus, trimmed
To make aioli, in a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, chives, garlic and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Keep aioli chilled, covered, until ready to use.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and cook asparagus until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and transfer to a large bowl of cold water with ice to chill down the asparagus and stop the cooking.
Drain asparagus and pat dry. Serve with aioli.
Topping Options for Asparagus:
- Simple hollandaise sauce
- Caper vinaigrette
- Crumbled goat cheese
- Chopped toasted pine nuts
- Toasted garlic breadcrumbs
- Sprinkled with lemon or lime juice
- Tossed in pesto
To get the Asparagus with Lemon Aioli recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.
Special Fork is a recipe website for your smartphone and PC that solves the daily dinnertime dilemma: what to cook now! Our bloggers blog Monday through Friday to give you cooking inspiration. Check out our recipe database for quick ideas that take no more than 30 minutes of prep time. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.