Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Apr 8, 2007 10:09 AM

Asparagus virgin...

So, I know I disliked asparagus as a kid. However, I am having some foodies for dinner on Tuesday and as I wandered through the store last night at 10pm in search of Easter dinner inspiration, the asparagus looked lovely and it was on sale, so I bought 2 bunches. As of the minute, I have it standing upright in my juice pitcher in about 3 inches of water in the fridge. Is that right?

Secondly, I haven't a damn clue what to do with it. My menu for Tuesday is:

Strip steaks, lightly seasoned and grilled with a balsamic drizzle
Roasted tomato cream pasta with shaved fontinella
Red leaf lettuce salad with grape tomatoes, craisins, almonds, gorgonzola and white balsamic viniagrette.
Bruscetta, but unsure of the topping yet.

Can I roast it? Blanch it first? Grill it? What sauce or seasoning should I do? I know I have to snap off the woody ends and that's about all I know.

Thanks in advance, Hounds. (and I am making my first potato gratin as we speak...pray for me)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Super easy and delicious is to roast them. Trim bottoms by at least an inch, spread out on a baking sheet and drizzle with EVOO, salt and pepper. Toss to coat and roast at 400 for about 20 minutes. You can squeeze some lemon or lemon zest on them after they come out of the oven but they are great just as is. I ate about a lb. myself last night for dinner!! Happy Easter!

    7 Replies
    1. re: 4chowpups

      you can also use a little dry white wine white roasting and finish with thinly shaved sheets of Parmigiano Reggiano and/or slivers of almond.

      1. re: mimolette

        I also like to roast it with olive oil, garlic and/or sesame seeds. So good!

        1. re: Keramel

          I would add a dash of balsamic when roasting, especially to complement your steak strips.

      2. re: 4chowpups

        I roasted several bunches for dinner for ten last night, with just salt, pepper and EVOO. Meant to sprinkle some lemon juice on them before serving, but forgot, and it made no difference.

        Easy. One trick that I picked up right here on CH that made it even easier, especially when roasting a lot for a crowd: use a cookie sheet lined with foil. Read that and thought, duh, why haven't I thought of that before: Size was perfect for four bunches, and super easy cleanup!

        1. re: 4chowpups

          That's my favorite way to prepare asparagus too, and I did the same last night as well!

          1. re: 4chowpups

            Agreed. Except I do it at 500 for about 15 minutes or so. This also works great for broccoli. I'll roast broccoli or asparagus for a late night snack. I usually like some grated parmessan on asparagus... usually just eat the broccoli plain.

            1. re: AbdulSheikhMohammed

              That's funny, I usually use grated parmesan on my broccoli and eat the asparagus plain!

          2. If the stalks are a woody, hold near the ends, bend--they will break at the point where you can discard the woody part. Toss spears into salted boiling water for up to a minute and then into an ice bath. I like taking freshly grated Parm-Reg, dropping in some lime juice. The cheese dissolves into a lovely creamy sauce.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              I also like a "minimalist" prep like this. Barely-boiled, then chilled, they will hold for hours, brilliant green.

              I will try to restrain myself from comments about Easter fecundity, Asparagus virgins, or the turgid tips of asparagus now emerging from the earth in the garden.

              Two basic divides: If you're gonna roast them (awesome), then pick thicker spears. If you want to quick blanch, pick thinner ones.

              My "Go-To" prep for storebought asparagus: Get a bunch of pencil thins. Trim the reddish/dried-out 1/4 inch off the base. Now imagine soup. Line up the asparagus, with all tips butted against your knifeblade. Cut all tips to a uniform length (ca. 3 inches), fior later blanching as presentation as the top component to soup. Then dice midsections, boiil, and make soup from the diced tipless midsections, pureeing the 3 minute boiled stems (via the blender, Food processor, or the easieat : stick blender). This is a good time to check the fridge for other "need to become soup" veggies. For presentation of the green soup, place the uniformly cut asparagus tips on top.

              Dicing and pureeing the lower woodier sections allows you to overcome the need for snapping / peeling and get the most food value for your vegetable-purchase-buck.

            2. Roasting or grilling is my prefered method. I think it really brings out the sweetness of fresh asparagus. If I grill them outdoors though I stick them in one of those veggie grilling baskets. As you can imagine the potential for falling through the grate is great (sorry I couldn't resist the pun).

              1 Reply
              1. On thicker stalks I trim the bottoms about an inch, then I peel them using a "spargelschaler" -- a handy little tool I brought back from Germany a few years back. While it's designed to be used primarily on tough-stemmed white asparagus, it does a great job on green asparagus as well, and makes the stems oh-so-tender. Locally, I've seen these asparagus peelers in Williams-Sonoma.

                I use an upright asparagus steamer with a basket insert to cook them. The stems sit in the boiling water and the rest of the stalk simply gets steamed.

                1. my 2 favorite was are grilled or roasted -

                  made roasted last night - some evoo and s&p, 425 for 15-20 minutes. then some lemon or parm cheese.

                  on the grill - soy sauce, garlic and a touch of sugar - marinated then grilled. ive turned on several people to asparagus with this one. people who swear that asparagus is disgusting :)

                  ive also sauteed or steamed them, and drizzeled on a lemon herb sauce.