By the 1650's, asparagus was in the top 5 of the most popular vegetables
to eat in France. In the 1850's, Germany began to can asparagus.
By the 19th century, when refrigeration became into play, asparagus
became a worldwide commodity.
Part of the Lily Family, liliaceae.
There are three types of asparagus: purple, green
The green asparagus is the most common. This type has
a green stem and a purple tip. The purple type is called viola.
The white type originated from Argenteuil, France, and is really
a green asparagus grown underground!
Season Asparagus are usually available between February
and June, though hothouses in certain areas grow asparagus all year
How to Select Choose your asparagus with a firm stalk, tight
tips and a vivid color. The thicker the stalk of the asparagus,
the older the plant is. Thinner stalks mean the plant was younger
and therefore produces a more tender vegetable.
Storage Store asparagus in the refrigerator, wrapped in
plastic for a maximum of 4 days. If desired, you can sit the asparagus,
stem-side down, in 1 inch of water and cover the top with a plastic
Nutritional Qualities Asparagus contains Vitamin A and iron,
as well as Vitamins B and C.
Wine Pairings Depending on how you are preparing your asparagus
and as to what you are serving with it, serve a Pinot Grigio or
a Chenin Blanc.
Spices Basil, chervil, Herbes de Provence, marjoram, paprika,
Equivalencies 6 - 10 spears per individual serving
1 pound fresh = 12 - 22 spears = 3 1/2 cups chopped = 2 cups cooked
Bend each spear of asparagus, and the spear will automatically
snap where it needs to. Discard the lower end. With a vegetable
peeler, peel off the tough skin of the stalk. Trim off any excess
spiky flowers with a knife.
Stir-Fry: 2 cups of ½ inch slices in 1 tablespoon
of oil for 1 minute, then add 2 tablespoons of liquid, cover and
cook 2 - 3 minutes.
Microwave: 1 pound spears + 2 tbsp. water for 4 - 7 minutes
Boil: spears, 7 - 10 minutes.
Steam: 8 - 12 minutes.
Roast: spears, 400 degrees for 20 minutes Asparagus is done
when the color is bright and vivid and the stalk is tender when
pierced with a fork.
Additional Information (Web Sites) California Asparagus
Baked Asparagus Gruyere
Recipe By: TJ Hill - Appetites Catered
1-pound asparagus tips
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese -- grated
3 tablespoons pine nuts -- toasted
1-tablespoon olive oil
1/4-teaspoon pepper -- to taste
Melt butter in an ovenproof skillet, over a high flame.
asparagus in pan. Add 3 tablespoons water, cover, and steam for
2 minutes sprinkle stems (not tips) with cheese and nuts.
with oil. Season with pepper.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes, until cheese
Remove from oven. Serve hot.
Yields: 4 servings
Recipe By: Public domain recipe
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon - instant
1-tablespoon water - cold
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms - sliced
1/8-teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Cut asparagus into 1" pieces and steam lightly.
Mix 1/2 c
water and the dry bouillon; reserve.
Mix cornstarch and 1T water;
reserve. Heat oil in wok or 12 inch skillet over medium heat.
asparagus, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Stir-fry about 1 minute.
Stir in bouillon mixture and heat to boiling. Stir in cornstarch
Cook and stir until thickened, about 10 seconds.
as a side dish or entrée. Yields: 4 servings
2 pounds asparagus
2 large potatoes
2 tablespoons dill
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1 cup rice milk
salt to taste
Creative Commons Flickr Photo by Maggie Hoffman
Cut potatoes into small pieces. In an approximately 3 qt. saucepan,
boil potatoes until extremely tender. While this is happening, wash
asparagus. Remove woody ends. Cut into 1" sections, setting
aside tips. Add non-tip sections to potato pot and cook until asparagus
has gone beyond bright green to olive green (but not brown).
dill. Asparagus should be soft enough to mash along with potatoes,
in the cooking water. Don't throw out any of the cooking water.
Lightly brown flour in a small saucepan and allow to cool somewhat
before adding rice milk.
Add liquid gradually to make a smooth pseudo-
roux and add the roux to the soup. Add the asparagus tips and continue
cooking the soup just until they are tender and bright green. Salt
to taste. Yields: 2 servings
This article was originally published at Suite 101.
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