Spring Time – Asparagus Season. How to Cook Asparagus in Several Ways
Well known is white and green asparagus. The white asparagus grows underground and is being excavated and cut out for harvest, while green asparagus grows above the earth. With the help of light it developes the green tint. Green asparagus tastes slightly acerbic, more nutty than the white one. It can in principle be processed exactly as the white asparagus – apart from the fact that it needn’t to be peeled, or only the lower third of it. The woody ends need to be removed from both varieties.
The best time for asparagus in Germany is late April and traditionally goes to 24th of June (St. John’s). Asparagus that is being sold earlier, is grown with an enormous amount of energy – or imported.
The cooking time depends on the thickness of the asparagus, the preparation method and of course whether you like it very soft or al dente. I personally prefer it with a firm bite, but that is a matter of taste.
Asparagus should be processed just as fresh as possible. If you aren’t able to prepare it immediately after your purchase, store it in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp dishcloth.
If you want to freeze the asparagus: Don’t blanch it before! It would unnecessarily lose flavor and vitamins. Wash and peel the asparagus, give it into a suitable container, e.g. a vacuum bag. Don’t thaw it, cook it directly in hot water or one of the other ways I’ll show here.
In Addition – Light Hollandaise
If we think of asparagus, one thinks in most cases to hollandaise sauce. It just fits well with the acerbic flavor of the asparagus. The only drawback: The sauce made of eggs and butter is very rich in calories – too heavy for many people with predominantly mild daytime activities.
A good alternative: a light or calorie reduced hollandaise, which is just as delicious, but contains only a fraction of the butter compared to the “real” hollandaise.
Ingredients (serves 4):
¼l (1 Cup) chicken or vegetable stock
20g (0.7 oz) cornflour 2 eggs (yolk)
50g (1,75 oz) butter, well chilled
Salt and pepper
Heat the broth, sieve starch and mix both with a whisk or hand blender. Remove the pot from the heat and add butter and egg yolks, mix immediately. Season with salt, pepper and a little lemon juice, stir again. Serve hot – if you need to heat the sauce again, do it over low heat, so that the egg does not curdle.
1. How to Cook Asparagus – in Water
The most common method is to cook asparagus in a water bath, but it isn’t the most gentle. Even if you use an asparagus pot – in which the asparagus is cooked upright, and the heads are to be cooked only in the steam – the water depletes the asparagus.
Should you want to cook the asparagus this way, use as little water as needed, salt it lightly and add a pinch of sugar. You may also add the shells and cut ends to the water! These are full of flavor that goes into the water. Help you with a strainer to keep asparagus and the remains separated.
Preparation time: At medium heat for medium thick stalks: About 15 minutes – test it!
2. Steaming Asparagus, Asparagus in Oven Bag
The gentlest way to cook asparagus is by steaming. If you use a pot with steamer insert, an oven with steam function or an oven bag is secondary. benutzen, ist zweitrangig.
This cooking method retains the most vitamins and micronutrients. After about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness, the asparagus reached an optimal cooking point.
3. Stewed Asparagus
Like any other vegetable you can stew asparagus as well. Eg like this: Heat 150 ml (10 T.) of broth, add 400 g (14 oz) peeled, cleaned and cut asparagus. Cook approx. 15 minutes until al dente, remove half of the asparagus (particularly the heads) with a slotted spoon. Puree the rest of the asparagus in the broth with 20 g (0.7 oz) butter. Season with a little nutmeg, salt, pepper and lemon zest, add the asparagus pieces and let them get warm again. Decorate with some saffron.
4. How to Cook Asparagus in the Oven
You can also cook asparagus in the oven – at 200°C (392°F) for 40 minutes – make a packet with aluminum foil, season with salt and sugar, and a little butter. The asparagus should only be in 1-2 layers to get cooked well. Lid the package tightly and place it on a wire rack in the middle of the oven. Or even use a baking sheet, brush it with butter, salt and sugar the asparagus, seal the baking sheet with aluminum foil.
5. Grilling Asparagus
In the same way you can also grill asparagus. The cooking time depends strongly on the heat of the grill – test from time to time.
6. Fried Asparagus
An interesting variation is to fry the asparagus. In butter or olive oil, by frying the asparagus gets jazzed up with a rosted aroma. Cut the asparagus beforehand into bite size pieces, and let it then chill until lukewarm – a great accompaniment to salads, such as arugula, watercress, lettuce.
Another variant: Let sugar caramelize in a pan, add butter and sautÃƒÂ© the asparagus hot, then lower the heat and cook the asparagus until al dente. Cut green pepper (can, but hasn’t to be the hot version) into thin pieces, mix, allow to cool slightly.
7. Asparagus Vacuum Cooking / Sous Vide Cooking
For ambitious chefs (and those with the right equipment): Try to sous vide cook asparagus. Cooking in the vacuum bag is gentle to the vital substances and flavors of the asparagus. More than that, you can marinate the asparagus during the cooking.
Medium thick stalks are cooked at 85°C (185°F) and 30 minutes. Delicious: Melt butter and honey in a pan, give the peeled asparagus stalks in the vacuum bag, add sea salt and lemon zest to the honey and butter marinade. Vacuuming. Cook (you can do it in the same way also in a steamer).