Asparagus: Cooking, cleaning and storing asparagus plus asparagus recipes

One of the first vegetables harvested in spring, take advantage of the asparagus from your garden or local grocer with our asparagus cooking tips and delicious asparagus recipes.

By CanadianLiving.com

Asparagus cooking tips and asparagus recipes
Asparagus Soup With Homemade Croutons
Photography by Jeff Coulson/TC Media
When you think of spring vegetables, asparagus (at its peak in May) may be one of the first that comes to mind. Asparagus is a perennial, leafless member of the lily family with slender green spears that have been prized since ancient times.

Asparagus is more than just a tasty treat. Six spears contain about 25 per cent of your daily requirement of folate, the B vitamin linked to lowering the risks of birth defects as well as heart disease.

Asparagus also contains vitamins B6 and C, potassium and the antioxidant glutathione - all this in only 25 calories. As well, six spears also contain a palnt-derived carbohydrate called inulin, a prebiotic that improves the health of your gut by stimulating the activity and growth of healthy, beneficial probiotic bacteria. Inulin is also a soluble fibre that helps lower cholesterol.

How to choose and cook with asparagus
• Choose firm stalks with deep green or purplish closed tips.
• Store in refrigerator with woody ends wrapped in damp paper towel to prevent drying out.
• Use within 2 days of purchase for best flavour.
• Trim off woody ends before cooking.
• Boil in large pot of boiling salted water, covered, until tender-crip, about 4 minutes. Drain and arrange on plate.

Asparagus recipes from The Canadian Living Test Kitchen
Lemon, Red Pepper and Asparagus Pasta Salad
A bright vinaigrette makes this pasta salad the ultimate dish to serve at any summer party. The acidity of the lemon dressing mellows as it stands in the fridge, so this dish is actually better the next day. 

Asparagus Soup with Homemade Croutons
Topping this soup du jour with a dollop of crème fraîche adds a touch of richness, but you can substitute Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Roasted Asparagus With Lemon and Parmesan
Asparagus has a sweet, grassy flavour that is heightened when it's roasted. Toss it with lemon zest and juice to add a burst of freshness without dulling the nice green colour.

Peach-Chipotle Pork With Asparagus
The chipotles in the glaze add a big kick. Seeding them allows the flavour to come through without much heat. Chipotle peppers freeze well, so once you open a can, freeze leftovers in an airtight container.

Shrimp and Asparagus Crêpes with Chardonnay Sabayon
Succulent shrimp, tender-crisp asparagus and savoury crêpes bathed in a creamy sauce is guaranteed to win rave reviews for the cook.

Asparagus and Smoked Turkey French Toast Sandwiches
French toast takes a savoury twist in this familiar recipe.

Pasta with Brown Butter Tomatoes and Asparagus
Brown butter, or beurre noisette, is butter that is cooked until a golden hazelnut colour and nutty flavour. This simple yet elegant technique is a terrific way to spruce up everyday pasta.

Warm Asparagus Mushroom Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Dressing
This salad is an excellent first course for spring entertaining or for lunch with soup and bread.

How to grow and harvest asparagus
For care and harvesting tips of fresh asparagus from your garden, or to plant some asparagus for next spring, read this article from our sister site CanadianGardening.com - Sweet Repeat: Asparagus spearheads the start of another delicious season


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