Asparagus is the hero of vegetables, especially at this time of year. The season of these green stalks is brief, lasting from just late April to early June, but the quality is exceptional.
It’s native to Europe and Western Asia, although hardly noticed in England until the mid-1500s. Now we use it in a variety of ways – with pasta or rice dishes, with meat-and-two-veg meals, or for brunch with eggs. It’s incredibly versatile.
What are the health benefits of asparagus?
Asparagus not only tastes delicious, but it is incredibly good for your health:
- Asparagus contains vitamin K, essential for healthy blood clotting
- It is rich in vitamin C, which boosts your immune system
- Eating asparagus can help reduce bloating and promotes healthy bacteria in the large intestine
Asparagus can even help to cure hangovers! It’s mildly diuretic, helping to detoxify the body. Need I say more?
How to cook asparagus
Boil it, steam it, grill it, roast it… This vegetable is incredibly versatile. But here are a few of my favourite ways to cook and serve it.
Dry your asparagus with kitchen towel to prevent any residual water from steaming the asparagus when grilling. Drizzle with olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper, then toss until well coated. Lay the spears on a medium-high heated grill. Cook for a couple of minutes, then turn and repeat once or twice more – until the asparagus is tender and slightly charred.
Add your grilled asparagus to grain bowls and salads, or serve with eggs topped with hollandaise sauce. You could also chop it up and add to scrambled eggs.
Preheat your oven to 200°C. Once again, dry your asparagus and toss in oil, salt and pepper. Spread the asparagus on a baking tray and roast, opening the oven to roll around once or twice. It should take around 15-20 minutes until you see them become golden and tender.
Roasted asparagus is great in pasta dishes or as a side for a main meal. On top of pizza would also be lovely.
Fill a pot with water, and a large bowl with iced water. Bring the pot of water to the boil over high heat, and add the asparagus to cook for 2-3 minutes. Use tongs to immediately transfer the asparagus into the bowl of ice water. This will stop the asparagus from continuing to cook. After a few moments, remove from the water and serve.
Simmered asparagus can be placed into soups or stews. It also makes delicious pesto – simply replace the basil or greens with the asparagus. Yum.
Till next time,