Quick and Light, Asparagus Hits the Spot

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by Karen Pendleton
February 1997
from issue #7

The trick to good asparagus is not overcooking the spears. Bright green asparagus is the most flavorful and appetizing. To win over those who think of asparagus as slimy and bitter, I lightly blanch the spears, or even leave them raw.

One of my favorite ways to serve asparagus is to blanch freshly picked spears for just 30 seconds and then douse them with a flavorful vinaigrette. This makes a great side dish, appetizer, or quick snack. Just 5 minutes in a steamer is enough when serving asparagus as a side vegetable.

You can preserve freshness after picking asparagus by treating the spears like cut flowers. I stand my asparagus in about 2 in. of water in a container in the refrigerator. This works better than bagging and will keep the asparagus fresh and crisp for a good week.

Rinse it well, especially after a storm, by pulling back the lower leaflets to check for sand or mud. There is no need to peel fresh asparagus.

When your asparagus patch is really producing, don’t be afraid to freeze some for use next winter. Granted, it won’t have the texture of garden-fresh spears, but it’s perfect for a pot of asparagus soup.

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