Spring is asparagus season (not summer, and not fall). So now is the time, while it’s fresh and at its peak, to eat asparagus as many ways as you can think of.
Selecting and Prepping Asparagus
- Look for firm stalks. Look for tips that are still tight and not opened up too much, and avoid bunches with split or browned ends. Thin stalks or thick? That’s up to you and what you like best.
- To prep, first wash the asparagus. Place the asparagus in a large bowl or clean sink filled with cold water. Drop in the asparagus and swish it around to remove any errant dirt.
- Bend and snap. You want to discard the woody ends of the asparagus. Grab the end of the spear with one hand and grasp just above the middle with the other. Then just bend until it snaps – the asparagus will naturally break at the right place. (Save the woody ends to freeze along with other vegetable scraps to make vegetable stock later.)*
Now you’re ready to roast, grill, or simmer!
How to Cook Asparagus 3 Ways
from Kitchen Treaty
- 1 pound asparagus
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (if roasting or grilling)
- Salt & pepper if you like
- Wash and prep asparagus: See instructions above.
- To roast in the oven: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Dry asparagus by rolling around on a kitchen towel. Place asparagus in large a bowl and drizzle with olive oil – about 1 tablespoon per pound of asparagus. Add a couple of pinches of salt and toss until coated. Spread the asparagus on a large rimmed sheet pan – a single layer is best! Bake, rolling the asparagus once or twice, until golden brown and tender, 15-20 minutes (check after 10 minutes if your asparagus is very thin). Add additional salt to taste. Serve.
- To grill: Preheat grill on medium-high, about 450 degrees. Place asparagus in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil – about 1 tablespoon per 1 pound of asparagus. Add a pinch of salt and toss until coated. Lay spears on the grill. Close grill for a couple of minutes then open and turn asparagus with tongs. Cook for 2-3 more minutes, turning once or twice more, until the asparagus is tender and charred in spots. Remove from grill and serve, adding more salt if desired.
- To boil: Fill a large pot about halfway with water. Fill a large bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes, then set aside. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until just tender. Using tongs, transfer asparagus to the bowl of ice water. Dunk a few times then remove from water and finish however you like – marinate in vinaigrette, saute in butter or olive oil, add a pinch of salt … your choice!
*Cook’s Note: I have tried trimming the ends with a paring knife or peeler, but I find the bend and snap method to be much easier. I do grasp closer to the end than the middle and feel for the snap point. Once you’ve done a few, you’ll get the feel for it. You might feel that you are wasting too much this way, but nobody likes chewing woody asparagus and if you save the ends to make stock, it’s a win-win.
Once you’ve roasted, grilled, simmered your fresh asparagus, check our recipe archive for some brilliant ways to serve and eat it.