Asparagus is a type of vegetable that is rich in vitamins and nutrients thus making it a good choice of vegetable for meals and even healthy snacks.
You may use it as an ingredient for a number of dishes or as an accompaniment to your main dish.
Asparagus Nutrition Facts
Asparagus is rich in vitamin B6 as well as vitamins A, C and K. It is a low-calorie vegetable that is also rich in folic acid, calcium, zinc, protein, magnesium, potassium, iron, selenium and dietary fiber.
It is a good anti-inflammatory agent and is also best known as an excellent anti-oxidant.
What this translates to is that asparagus is a good agent for the reduction of the risk factors for health problems as well as the prevention of a number of diseases including heart disease and even certain types of cancer.
There is an asparagus cooker that you can buy but the lack of it does not mean that you can no longer enjoy the health benefits of this vegetable. You can simply use your regular frying pan or skillet to cook your asparagus shoots.
You can blanch it, fry it or throw it in your specialty dish for that added crunch and flavor.
Before you cook it though, you need to know how to get the most out of your asparagus by choosing those that are still in good condition.
Tips on Buying Asparagus
Asparagus may be thick or thin, white or green. The color and size usually do not affect the quality or the nutritional benefits that you will derive from them.
If you cannot get hold of freshly-harvested asparagus and you will instead be buying your stack from the grocery, make sure that the ones they have are refrigerated or at least kept in a cooler with ice.
Choose those that are straight and firm with a vibrant hue to them, whether green or white. Look at the tips to make sure that they are still closed. Opened tips that are starting to bud are an indicator that the stems may already have a “woody” consistency.
Once you’ve purchased your asparagus, it is advised that you cook these, at most, 3 days after you’ve bought them. This will not only ensure that the vegetable is still fresh but also that it still has its nutritional value intact.
If you won’t be using your asparagus just yet, you can wrap them in a lightly damp kitchen roll and then keep them in your vegetable crisper inside the fridge.
You may also let them stand inside a bowl filled with cold water to keep them fresh. You will have to change the cold water the following day if you still won’t be using your asparagus for cooking.
How to Cook Asparagus in Pan
Now for the best part: cooking asparagus in a regular pan. This is actually quite easy and you will only need several minutes to cook your asparagus.
Overcooking your veggies will render them less beneficial nutrition-wise plus you will have spoiled their freshness and taste if you place them in the heat for a longer time than necessary.
What You’ll Need:
One-fourth cup of butter
Two tbsp. of olive oil
One tsp. of rock salt
One-fourth tsp. of black pepper, ground
Three cloves of garlic, minced
One lbs. of fresh asparagus, prepared and trimmed
Heat pan over medium high and then melt butter. Combine olive oil, rock salt and ground black pepper. Add garlic and cook for a few seconds, just before they turn brown.
Put in your asparagus and cook for approximately ten minutes. Turn the asparagus occasionally to evenly cook all sides.
Turn heat off and then serve.
This recipe yields about 188 calories, 18.4 grams of fat and 31 grams of cholesterol. Preparation and cooking time are about twenty to twenty-five minutes, total.
Note: For variation, you may eliminate the butter and olive oil; and then add about a tablespoon of soy sauce, a tablespoon of vegetable oil and two teaspoons of sesame oil.
Throw in ginger and cashew nuts for added crunch and flavor.
Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan
What You’ll Need:
One pound of asparagus
Two tablespoons of extra virgin oil
Two tablespoons of Parmesan, grated
One teaspoon of lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste
Half-fill a medium sauce pan and place over medium-high heat. Bring the water to a boil and then put in the asparagus. Put heat over low and cook asparagus for about two minutes.
While waiting for the asparagus to cook, combine extra virgin oil, -Parmesan cheese and lemon zest in a bowl.
Turn off heat and then drain the water.
Put asparagus inside the bowl with the mixture and then toss as you would a salad. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
This recipe takes about ten minutes to prepare and cook; and is good for four servings.