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Thought Leader Series: 10 Cooking Ideas for When Asparagus Is in Bloom

Diane Balch lives in a rural horse town and is passionate about simple living and eating, as seen in her blog at SimpleLivingEating.com. For over 4,000 years, asparagus has been sprouting every spring for people to enjoy all over...

Cooking ideas

Diane Balch lives in a rural horse town and is passionate about simple living and eating, as seen in her blog at SimpleLivingEating.com.

Cooking ideas

For over 4,000 years, asparagus has been sprouting every spring for people to enjoy all over the world. Asparagus is as popular in Asia as it is in Europe and the Americas. Why wouldn't it be? It has a mild flavor that melds with seasonings exceptionally well, especially soy sauce, lemon, and garlic. Asparagus is also an unusually versatile vegetable. It can be cooked several ways, and it works in all kinds of dishes. Here are 10 of the best ways to enjoy asparagus this spring.

Steamed

For a simple side dish, snap off the ends of your asparagus and lay them in a steam basket. Let the asparagus tenderize under this moist heat for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears.

Cooking ideas

Boiled

In a hurry to get dinner on the table? Throw a bunch of asparagus in a salted boiling pot of water. Within five minutes, you'll have a great accompaniment to your main course. Drizzle Hollandaise sauce on the spears and poach some eggs for a really fast and tasty meal.

Grilled

Have your grill fired up for some salmon or chicken? Baste a few asparagus spears with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place them on the cooler part of the grill, and they will be golden in less than five minutes.

Cooking ideas

Roasted

To deepen the flavor of asparagus, there is really no better way to cook them than to roast the spears in a 425-degrees oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, depending on how golden you want the tips.

Sautéed

To keep asparagus's firmness, lightly sauteeing spears in olive oil is a quick, flavorful preparation. Add a little garlic to the pan and drizzle some lemon juice over the asparagus for a classically Mediterranean side dish.

With Eggs

An ideal way to use up leftover asparagus spears is to chop them up and toss them into an omelet or quiche. Asparagus works with any type of cheese. Gruyere or cheddar are particularly delicious combined with asparagus.

Cooking ideas

Soup

At the peak of asparagus season, when your green grocery is overflowing with spears, it is a great time to buy a bunch and make an asparagus soup.

Salad

Leftover spears are a delightful addition to any salad, especially if you are willing to add a poached egg. Egg yolks and asparagus are a gratifying combination.

Pasta

Everyone enjoys pasta, and everyone gets tired of plain old red sauce. Add some asparagus to a simple olive oil pasta dish with beans and a little Parmesan cheese for a light and healthy meal.

Cooking ideas

Stir-Fry

Asian cuisine is filled with stir-fries that include asparagus. For a simple night's meal, saute some chopped-up asparagus with shrimp and season it with soy sauce, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

If you see the mild white spears or the exotic purple spears, be adventurous and buy them too. They work very well in any recipe that would call for the more common green asparagus. Any way you decide to cook your asparagus, it will be enjoyable.

Browse our cookbooks for more ideas on how to enjoy asparagus this spring.