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Apr 19, 2012 9:52 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Out Of The Box Asparagus Recipes

Apr 23, 2012 4:57 PM

Asparagus is a popular member of the cultivated lily family.

An established asparagus bed is a prized possession of every gardener and cook that I know, however, most folks buy it at the store. Look for firm, bright green (or pale ivory) stalks with tight tips. Some asparagus tips have a purple tinge, just be sure they aren’t fuzzy, which means they were picked long ago.

For preparation, cut a slice off the bottom of the stems, then stand the bunch up in about 1½ inches of water. Invert a plastic bag over the top and refrigerate overnight to rehydrate. Stalks will keep four or five days in the refrigerator.

Thoroughly wash asparagus before cooking. If the stalks are pencil thin, just wash and trim them. For thick asparagus, peel from the end of the tip to the bottom of each stalk.

For a first course, drizzle vinaigrette over cooked asparagus. For a side dish, bake with cheese. Or add asparagus to a quiche for a hors d’oeuvre. And if you love asparagus like I do, keep these recipes in mind while planning your spring menus. Bon appétit!

Asparagus Primer

(6 servings)

2 pounds asparagus, washed

Choose one of three methods of cooking.

Method One:

Break off the pithy bottoms wherever they snap.

If necessary, use a vegetable peeler to peel stalks from the tip down to the bottom and cut the ends to make even.

Cook the asparagus until just tender, about 5 minutes, in a large skillet of boiling salted water.

The time depends on the thickness. Test with a sharp knife.

Immediately remove from skillet and plunge them into cold water to stop the cooking process.

Drain well and then wrap in a clean linen towel or napkin until ready to serve.

Method Two:

Trim and peel asparagus as directed above.

Set a steamer basket in a saucepan filled with about 1 inch of water, cooking over high heat.

When the water boils, add asparagus.

Cover and steam until crunch tender, about 5 minutes.

Plunge into cold water and drain.

Method Three:

Working in batches, lay 5 to 6 stalks of asparagus on a glass pie plate.

Add 1 tablespoon water.

Cover with parchment paper, then seal with plastic wrap.

Place in microwave and cook for 1 minute.

Immediately plunge into cold water and drain.

Serve cold or at room temperature. Or just before serving, reheat and drizzle olive oil or butter and lemon juice over top.

Roasted Asparagus

(Serves 6)

2 pounds asparagus, peeled and trimmed

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon dry herbs: parsley, dill, thyme, oregano, rosemary, etc.

To prepare:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with aluminum foil and parchment paper.

Drizzle with olive oil.

Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on the prepared pans.

Drizzle a bit more oil over top, and roll around to completely coat.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Roast, rotating the pan once or twice, until stalks are tender to the point of a knife, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to a platter.

Can be done ahead and reheated.


To bake, substitute the oil with about 2 tablespoons melted butter in the bottom of a baking dish.

Arrange asparagus in the dish.

Season to taste.

Lay parchment paper directly on top and cover the dish with a lid or foil.

Roast in oven until tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove paper and serve at once.

Asparagus With
Parmesan Cheese

(Serves 4)

1½ to 2 pounds asparagus, washed, peeled and trimmed, then blanched until barely tender

About 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

To prepare:

Grease an ovenproof baking dish with butter.

Arrange asparagus in a single layer.

Dot with bits of butter.

Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle with cheese.

Continue layering asparagus and cheese, ending with cheese on top. Can be done ahead to this point.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Set the dish on the top rack in the oven and bake until a golden crust forms on the cheese, about 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Asparagus Vinaigrette

(Serves 4 as a first course)

28 asparagus spears, washed, peeled, trimmed and blanched

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or red palm oil, which can be found in specialty stores

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, aged in oak

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