In the springtime, fresh asparagus is abundant and readily available in the markets. It’s a wonderful vegetable that is simple to prepare and very versatile. In addition to the standard green variety, you may also be able to find white stalks of asparagus that are grown underground and have a milder taste. You’ll also find purple asparagus which has a fruitier flavor. Asparagus is a good source of potassium, fiber, Vitamins B6, A, C and thiamin. It has no fat, cholesterol and is in low in sodium. All around, asparagus is a terrific vegetable to add to your dinner table.
Asparagus is simple to prepare and steaming is probably the most common, however great results can be obtained with pan or oven roasted asparagus as well.
STEAMED ASPARAGUS WITH LEMON
Yield: 4 Servings
1-2 lbs slender asparagus spears, trimmed
½ fresh lemon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Place steamer rack in large pot. Add enough water to touch the bottom of the steamer rack. Place asparagus on the steamer rack. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and steam asparagus until tender, approximately 10 minutes. Remove asparagus from steamer and place on a platter and drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with a little fresh lemon juice.
PAN ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH THYME
Yield: 4 Servings
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 large fresh thyme sprigs
1 ¼ lb slender asparagus spears, trimmed
Melt butter with oil and thyme sprigs in a heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Add asparagus in a single layer. Using tongs, toss to coat. Saute’ asparagus turning often until crisp tender and the asparagus begins to brown in spots, approximately 8 minutes. Remove from pan to a serving platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH LEMON
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 lbs of fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
Preheat oven to 425 degree F. Mix the lemon juice, olive oil and lemon zest in a large roasting pan. Add asparagus and toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast asparagus until crisp-tender for approximately 20 minutes, until crisp-tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Sources: Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board
Pan Roasted Asparagus with Thyme – Bon Appetit – April 2008