Springtime Asparagus

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asparagus with sauce

Spring is finally here! Let’s celebrate with some beautiful floral looking asparagus.

Asparagus is a wonderful, unique tasting vegetable that needs little work to get to the table to enjoy. It comes in three different stalk sizes, thick, medium and pencil thin. The medium is the most commonly found, but all three are just as tasty. Asparagus also comes in various colors; green (most commonly found) white and purple. And again all equally delicious.

Preparing asparagus can be a fun food prep to enjoy with little ones since there are no knives involved. You see, the ends of asparagus are hard and fibrous and need to be removed. The easiest way to remove the hard end is to take one stalk and hold it towards the end (non floral looking end) with two hands and simply bend it until it snaps. It’ll snap naturally where the tender and fibrous meet. Simply discard the hard piece (or save it to flavor vegetable stock)and set the tender floral pieces aside and continue with the rest. Such a great way to introduce your little cooks into the culinary world and it actually makes them more excited about eating what they prepared!

asparagus sauteed

Once you have all of you asparagus prepared all you need is a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil heated. Once hot, add in the asparagus and cook over a medium/medium/low heat for 11 minutes until cooked through. Make sure to turn the asparagus as it cooks to cook evenly and not to burn. Once it is cooked you may serve with some added salt and freshly cracked pepper or with various sauces as the one I have enclosed for you. It is a lemony, garlic sauce with fresh tarragon and it adds a punch of flavor. Either way, the asparagus is a delightful vegetable to enjoy all season through.

Asparagus comes from the Greek word “shoot” and has been consumed for thousands of years. It is available fresh in Spring or bottled in your grocery aisle for year round consumption. It is also very versatile. You can prepare it whole as a side dish, with or without sauce; broiled, steamed, boiled (not the best way to prepare) and tossed in salads. You may serve it hot or cold. The choices are endless!

A Few healthy Tidbits about asparagus:

Asparagus contains plenty of vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin K – and calcium, copper, fiber, folate, folic acid, iron, magnesium, protein and  zinc. Asparagus is also a natural diuretic which helps expel toxins from your body via your kidneys. This helps with any bloating or swelling you may experience especially if taking heart or high-blood pressure medication.

Asparagus also contains a good amount of iron; a simple serving of 100g (3.5 ounces)of asparagus contains up to 2.14mg of iron.,  (for red blood cell production) which is especially important for women and vegans, since they do not consume red meat.

Earlier I mentioned that asparagus comes in different colors, well, if you can find the purple, that’s your winner! Purple asparagus in particular—is full of anthocyanins, (gives fruits and veggies their red, blue, and purple hues and have antioxidant effects that could help your body fight damaging free radicals.) When preparing asparagus, try not to either overcook or undercook it. And best if nor boiled as the vitamins leech into the water. Although cooking the veggie helps activate its cancer-fighting potential, letting it boil or sauté for too long can negate some nutritional benefits. But don’t panic, green asparagus is great too! Asparagus also contains high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that has been similarly linked to improved mood.

So, with all of these benefits, quick cooking time and its’ pretty presentation I say head out to your local market and bring some home. And as always, Enjoy!

 

Lemon Tarragon Asparagus

  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Combine lemon rind, lemon juice, tarragon, garlic, shallot, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and oil. Arrange asparagus on a platter. Drizzle tarragon mixture over asparagus; toss gently to coat.

Sauteed Asparagus:

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound trimmed asparagus

Optional: Freshly chopped tarragon

Preparation:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add in asparagus and saute over medium/medium low heat for 11 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon garlic sauce or Sprinkle with some fresh chopped tarragon.

Roasted Asparagus:

425 degree oven for 9-11 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound trimmed asparagus

Place trimmed asparagus onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently toss with the olive oil. Place in pre-heated 425 oven for 9-11 minutes. Serve with lemon garlic sauce or Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper and finely chopped tarragon

 

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