How to store, prep, and cook Asparagus
To help really make the most of our favourite spears, we’ve brought in our good friend Camille (@callherchef) to guide us through the best ways to store, prep, and cook Asparagus:
DID YOU KNOW?
In season from May to July, asparagus is a nutrient-packed vegetable. It is a very good source of fibre, folate and vitamins. Asparagus’ are incredibly versatile, and can be eaten raw and cooked.
Store your asparagus in the fridge for up to a week. Ideally the stems should be moist during storage, so before placing them in the fridge stand them upright in a jar or glass with cold water in the bottom. Alternatively, wrap the ends with a wet tea towel and keep in the vegetable drawer of the fridge.
Simply wash your asparagus and bend the spears which will naturally snap at the right point. Keep the ends, they are not as tender as the top of the asparagus, but perfectly edible and will make a great addition to soup and stock.
Blanch the asparagus in salted boiling water for about 2-4 minutes, depending on thickness of the stems. Using tongs, remove the asparagus and plunge them in iced water for a couple of minutes to stop the cooking processes and preserve the colour. The cooking water will be packed with flavours, do not throw it away, but instead use it to cook rice, pasta or in stock and soup recipes.
You can grill asparagus using a grill pan, oven grill or barbecue. The direct high heat adds a distinctive charred flavour to the asparagus. This is great to add extra flavours into any dish. To do so, season and brush your asparagus with olive oil to prevent them from drying. Then place them on the hot grill and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned but with a slight crunch. To maintain the green colour, you can first blanch your asparagus in salted boiling water for 1 minute and then grill for 2 minutes.
Roasting asparagus is another great and very simple way to cook them! Toss the asparagus in olive oil, season with salt and pepper then spread them evenly in a roasting dish. The trick is to really spread them to prevent some of them from steaming and cooking unevenly. Roast in a preheated oven for about 8 minutes or until tender.
If you have a sous vide machine or oven, then you might consider this technique. Cooking asparagus sous vide keeps them crisp and locks in flavours that would normally be lost when boiling in water. There is no need to add olive oil when cooking sous vide, but it does add flavour. To keep the nice green colour of the asparagus, add salt after cooking when using the sous vide technique. TIP: For all of these techniques, to determine if asparagus is cooked test the tips with a knife, it is cooked when tender