People tend to have their favourite method for cooking asparagus, and for most people that method is steaming. Why not try one of the methods below and find a tasty new way to prepare these green delicacies once known as the food of kings.
No matter how you cook asparagus, you’ll want to start off by either trim the asparagus or peel the asparagus stalks before cooking!
How to Blanch (or Boil) Asparagus
Blanching, or briefly submerging vegetables in boiling salted water, can be a wonderful way to cook asparagus. By cooking asparagus quickly in truly boiling water and then fully chilling it in ice water, you can “set” the green colour. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, drop asparagus in and cook until just tender, anywhere from 1 to 4 minutes depending on thickness. Drain and put asparagus in ice water until fully cool. Remove asparagus from ice water and pat dry. Then they are ready for service.
How to Grill Asparagus
Grilling asparagus is a great way to preserve its grassy flavour—and introduce a smoky edge in the process. Simple toss trimmed or peeled asparagus spears with a bit of vegetable oil and put them on a hot grill. Cook, turning to brown evenly, until tender, about 10 minutes total. Sprinkle with salt and/or lemon juice and serve hot or at room temperature.
How to Microwave Asparagus
Microwaving asparagus cooks them in a way similar to steaming. To Microwave asparagus: Set asparagus in a microwave-safe baking dish, add 2 tablespoons of water, cover, and microwave on high setting until tender, which should take about 2 to 3 minutes. Leave standing and covered for about 3 minutes and they will be ready to eat.
How to Pan-Roast Asparagus
Pan roasting is a combination of steaming and sautéing and gives you the browned edges of grilled or roasted asparagus without the hassle of heating up a grill or oven. Heat some cooking oil or butter in a large frying pan over high heat. Add asparagus, cover, and cook, shaking the pan now and again, until asparagus is browned and tender, should take about 10 minutes.
How to Roast Asparagus
Turn on oven, put asparagus in oven, cook until brown and tender. Seriously, it pretty much is just that easy. Just add a bit of cooking oil to the asparagus to keep it from drying out in the oven. Sprinkle with salt and maybe a squirt of lemon juice before serving and enjoy.
How to Sauté Asparagus
Cooking asparagus over high heat while stirring often leads to tender, bright green bites. This method works best with asparagus that has first been cut into 1- to 2-inch lengths. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat, add cooking oil or butter and asparagus and cook, stirring, until the asparagus is tender, usually taking about 5 minutes depending on how thick the spears are.
How to Steam Asparagus
Asparagus is usually steamed as whole stalks, but it can be steamed cut into bite-size pieces, if you like. Whether you steam it whole or chopped, place asparagus in a steamer rack and set over boiling water. Cover and cook until asparagus is tender, 4 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus stalks.
How to Stir-Fry Asparagus
Stir-frying brings out the nutty edge of asparagus’ grassy flavour. Cut asparagus into 1- to 2-inch lengths. Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat, add cooking oil and when it is hot enough to shimmer toss in the asparagus. Cook, stirring pretty much constantly until asparagus is tender and browned on the edges, 3 to 5 minutes depending on thickness of asparagus. If you want to include garlic, green onions, ginger, or other aromatics, add them right before adding the asparagus and let them sizzle for just a minute before tossing in the asparagus.