How to cook asparagus has been a question among chefs and foodies for years. The spiky, tangy vegetable is an all-time favorite of Italian cooks. In fact, it’s often called “italiano” (italian in Latin) because of its resemblance to the grape. The long, tubular leaves can be used for countless variations of traditional Italian foods.
Cooked asparagus is known for its mild flavor, which makes it a wonderful ingredient for tomato based dishes, such as tagliatelle or pizza sauce. Boiled, steamed, roasted, sauteed, or broiled asparagus reveals the tender, succulent leaves. The soft, fibrous vegetable cooks quickly, for a satisfying side dish to pasta dishes. Fresh asparagus spears always have an addictive, bright green texture when eaten raw.
Preparing asparagus requires patience, but not much more effort than ordinary cooking. Asparagus requires no special preparation time. Simply place it in a mixing bowl, add some olive oil, season with pepper and salt to taste, and cover it with a lid. The leaves of the vine will steam until translucent, approximately ten to twelve minutes. For faster cooking, remove the leaves from the pan and place them in a pot of cold water at high heat.
How to cook asparagus doesn’t need a lot of skill or time. It does, however, require a certain sense of finesse. It is a delicate herb, so it should be carefully handled. Cook it on the stove or in a pan with just enough water covering it to avoid burning. When the flavor begins to develop, remove it from the heat source, add a little salt, let it steep for about two minutes, then strain into a bowl. Add a dash of pepper and any seasonings to taste.
How to cook asparagus offers many options, depending on how you wish to season and cook it. For example, one method of cooking it that many people prefer is by using a pressure cooker. These devices feature a spout that pushes water through the medium of the pot. Many newer models include a cut-glass or cast-metal handle, which makes the pressure-cooking experience more pleasant. Pressure cookers are available in a variety of sizes and styles, including small tabletop models or full-sized entertainer sized models. Some also include an automatic shut-off timer, so you can be sure your meal is cooked to perfection without the risk of burning or overcooking.
Another popular method of how to cook asparagus is to use it raw in recipes using it as a key ingredient. Raw asparagus tends to be rather delicate, with a very sweet flavor that some people find overpowering. To enhance its delicate flavor, sear it lightly in a frying pan until it becomes translucent. Next, use a sharp knife to cut it into matchstick-size pieces. (While you may want to keep the pieces small, you’ll want to avoid having too small a piece of pasta when assembling a pasta sauce.) When the pasta is nearly finished cooking, add it to your favorite sauce along with your desired amount of olive oil, garlic, parsley, and lemon juice.
You may be surprised at the excellent flavor of freshly cut asparagus when you cook it in your oven. It works best as a salad dressing choice, tossed on top of platefuls of warm greens. It also pairs nicely with aged cheeses and is an excellent alternative to spinach when you need a healthier alternative to spinach. Roasting your own greens makes them easy to store away and serve whenever you need a nutritious, bright new side dish for dinner.
If you choose to roast your own asparagus, you will want to be sure to follow the directions carefully. Cook it in olive oil over direct heat for the first half of the stalk until it is almost blackened. Then remove it from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. You can wrap it tightly in foil or aluminum foil, keeping it in a single layer to retain the shape and flavor of the herb.