15 Oct How to get the most out of your Asparagus
How to get the most out of your Asparagus
15 October 2020
PREP. TIME: 10 min COOKING TIME: 10 min
The best months for asparagus are from early Spring to late Summer but they are at their peak in Victoria from September to November.
Green, white and purple with different coloured tips are all available in Victoria.
The fat green asparagus are probably the most flavoursome. The purple ones are 20% higher in sugar than the green - they have a lovely earthy flavour when cooked or raw.
Be sure to buy asparagus with firm stems, and the cut end should be white.
Thicker stems tend to be more flavoursome and they are easier to cook without the heads falling apart.
250g is sufficient per person for a main meal.
Asparagus should be eaten the day they are picked. They can be stored in a damp cloth for up to 3 days in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator.
INGREDIENTS FOR 4 - 6 SERVES
1 kg thick stemmed asparagus
1 tablespoon Salt
A large shallow pan with a fitted lid
Small sharp kitchen knife
Rinse the asparagus as little as possible.
Snap the ends with your hands and trim all of the asparagus to be of even length.
Some asparagus need the coarse outer layer peeled. Use a vegetable peeler and peel from top to bottom. (The ends and trimmings can all be cooked with the asparagus to add extra flavour to the cooking water which can be reserved to make soup.)
Remove any blemishes.
Place 4cm of water in the pot, cover and bring to the boil and add salt.
When the water returns to the boil - add the asparagus
Cover and cook for 4 - 10 minutes depending upon the thickness and variety. The asparagus is cooked when the tip of a small sharp knife can easily penetrate the head of the spear and the spear is just becoming tender.
Prepare the sauce or dressing while the asparagus are cooking.
When cooked to your liking remove the asparagus from the pan and arrange on kitchen towel to drain. The spears will continue cooking for a few more minutes.
If serving warm - serve with their sauce or dressing immediately.
If serving cold - plunge in cold water before draining to arrest the cooking process.
Warm asparagus are best served with butter based sauces. These do not come any easier than Edouard Pomiane's recipes for Asperges à la Flamande or Asperges à la Polonaise, both of which can be made in the time it takes for the asparagus to cook. Click on the links to see how.
Cold asparagus can be served with a vinaigrette or mayonnaise.
New potatoes cooked with asparagus and served warm with soft boiled eggs and fresh bread and butter make an easy and very lovely light luncheon or dinner dish.
Asperges au Gratin is another simple way to prepare asparagus and delight your guests.
Asparagus tips are wonderful in risotto.
The ends and scrapings can be added to the water the asparagus are cooked in to create a flavoursome stock for soup.
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