You can prepare asparagus in different ways. Green and white asparagus each have different characteristics. Both are the same plant – white asparagus is the underground part while green asparagus was allowed to see the light above ground. But now we’ll answer the question of how to cook asparagus properly
Asparagus season and purchase
The very healthy queen of vegetables is in season from April to June. However, you can buy imported asparagus in the supermarket all year round. As asparagus quickly loses its moisture and aroma, it’s best to do a freshness test when you buy it: rub the stalks together. If the tender vegetable squeaks, it is crisp and fresh. Because of the often high pesticide contamination, organic asparagus is recommended
At home, you can store asparagus wrapped in a damp kitchen towel in the fridge until you are ready to cook it, to keep it as fresh as possible.
How much asparagus per person
- For a classic asparagus dish such as asparagus spears with hollandaise sauce and potatoes, you need one pound, or 500 g, of asparagus per portion
- For a starter, side dish and – depending on the other ingredients – a salad, half a pound, or 125 g of asparagus, is usually enough.
Peel asparagus correctly
After careful washing, hold the white asparagus spears by the head and peel them generously from the top to the end, preferably with a special asparagus peeler. Then cut off the woody end. With green asparagus, it is sufficient to cut off only the woody end and possibly peel the lower third of the spears.
How to prepare asparagus
You can prepare the tasty spears in different ways
- Boil in water
- Cook in their own stock
- Bake in the oven
- Fry in a pan
In the pot: How long does asparagus need to cook?
A tall asparagus pot is a worthwhile investment if you are cooking asparagus for several people. Only with a large portion of asparagus do the spears give each other enough support when standing. In the asparagus pot, the standing asparagus should only be covered with water up to below the upper third. The tips and the upper part of the spears will be cooked by the steam
Bundle the asparagus in portions with twine to make it easier to remove from the pot afterwards.
If you cook the asparagus lying down in a large enough pot, the asparagus should be just covered with water
Cooking asparagus properly: the cooking water
Always add asparagus to hot water with a pinch of sugar and a little salt. The sugar is supposed to help against the bitterness of some spears. By the way, this is already the beginning of the cooking time and also applies to frozen asparagus
However, white asparagus also benefits from a squeeze of lemon, which brightens the vegetable and gives it a fresher aroma. Once the asparagus has come to the boil, reduce the heat and just allow the asparagus to cook.
The perfect cooking time for asparagus
- White asparagus needs to cook for about 12 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears. Of course, this also depends on whether you prefer asparagus that is firm to the bite or soft as butter
- Green as paragus is cooked after about 8 to 12 minutes. The best way to test the cooking is to pierce the ends of the asparagus with a sharp knife. If they are soft, the asparagus is definitely cooked.
Cooking asparagus in its own stock
In the pot
If you cook asparagus in its own stock, the vegetable tastes particularly intense and aromatic. To do this, add the asparagus ends and peelings to a little water with a little sugar, salt and two or three lemon slices or herbs and bring to the boil before adding the asparagus spears. Then let it simmer. You can then use the stock to make asparagus soup or an aromatic asparagus sauce.
In the oven
Asparagus can also be cooked in its own broth in a baking tube or wrapped in aluminium foil to form parcels in the oven. To do this, add salt, sugar and butter to the asparagus spears. At 200 °C, the vegetables are cooked after about 25 to 30 minutes (without preheating)
Alternatively, you can put the sticks on a large piece of aluminium foil with some olive oil or butter and season them with salt and pepper. Then close the foil tightly and cook the asparagus at 200 °C for 25 to 30 minutes.
The healthiest way to prepare asparagus is to steam it. It retains most of its vitamins and minerals. You can use a steamer or simply steam it with a steamer insert in a pot of water
Roast asparagus in a pot or wok
Because of the distinctive roasted aromas, cooking white and green asparagus spears in a pot or wok is becoming increasingly popular. Heat a little oil and fry the vegetables over a medium heat for about 10 to 25 minutes. Do not forget to turn the asparagus stalks to ensure even browning
If you cut the asparagus into pieces or slices beforehand, it will be cooked in just a few minutes. Roasted asparagus tastes particularly good as a salad or as a side dish with fish or meat, as well as with Asian dishes.
Green asparagus needs about 10 to 12 minutes on the grill grate and about 5 to 7 minutes under the oven grill. White asparagus cooks in about 30 minutes in a grill tray. In a grill pan it takes 3 minutes if it has been pre-cooked in boiling water for 8 minutes.
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