Asparagus, Buying, Cleaning, Cooking and Serving
Buying Asparagus • Look for firm heads that have not started to spread out. Stems, whether you prefer thick or thin, should be firm but not dried up. • Asparagus is usually sold standing in a bit of water to keep it from drying out. Check carefully for freshness if asparagus is not kept in water when you buy it.
How to Clean Asparagus • The bottom stem of the asparagus spear is tough and not too enjoyable. The best way to tell what part of the asparagus will be tender is to hold the spear with both hands, the head of the spear in one hand and the stem end in the other. • Begin to bend the spear and you will notice that it wants to break naturally at a certain point. That is the point where the stem begins to be tough. So just bend each spear and let it break where it wants. Discard the bottom stem or use the upper part of it to make a great asparagus soup.
How To Cook Asparagus If you don't have an asparagus cooker, use a frying pan to cook your asparagus. Just lay the spears in the frying pan, add enough water to just cover them and bring the water to a boil. The cooking time for asparagus depends on the thickness of the stems. Boil them for 3-6 minutes and test for doneness with a fork. They should be tender but not mushy. Add some butter to the pan and let it melt to coat the vegetables. Lemon drizzled over the asparagus is also wonderful. Add toasted sliced almonds to complete the dish.