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These are some simple
asparagus recipes.

It's at its best
when it is very fresh.

Don't do too much
to spoil a good thing!

Bunch of Asparagus

Preparing the Asparagus

     No matter what the recipe, there is one simple step to follow first. To remove the tough portion at the base of the spear, do NOT cut it off, BREAK it off! Grasp the spear at the base with one hand, and about halfway down the spear with the other and bend it until it breaks where it WANTS to break. The part that doesn't break is too tough to chew; throw it away. Don't attempt to peel it, or salvage it in any other way. (If you give this part to your kids, and they'll hate asparagus for sure, for the rest of their lives!)
     It is not necessary to peel any part of the asparagus spear, including the "scales". If it is fresh, it is all edible. If more than half of the spear is tough, consider shopping somewhere else, or grow your own!




Classic Asparagus

Ingredients:

Some asparagus
Some water
Butter (or substitute)
Salt and pepper

     This is serious now! The ingredients are simple, it's the COOKING TIME that is important. Cut up the spears into bite sized pieces. Put enough water in the pan to cover maybe half of the pieces, but only put in the thick pieces while you bring the water to a boil. This will allow them to cook a little longer than the thinner ones and the tips. When the water is boiling, put in the rest; they can be ABOVE the water. Put a lid on so that they will steam. NOW, watch carefully! Stop cooking while the spears are still BRIGHT green and still crunchy! If they have all turned olive green, they are overdone. (This is the main reason for NEVER buying canned asparagus). Remove them from the water and serve them immediately with a dab of butter, and salt and pepper to taste! Do not leave the leftover ones in the water; they will continue to cook; and when you come back for your second helping, they will be dull olive green, and mushy!




Asparagus stir-fry

Ingredients:

Some asparagus
A Sweet Pepper (A green one is good; a red one is even better!)
A little Olive Oil

     Slice the pepper in strips, lengthwise, and cut the strips in half. Cut the asparagus into 2" to 2 1/2" pieces. The proportion should be about twice as much asparagus as peppers. Use a large skillet, or preferably, a wok. Get the oil as hot as possible before putting the vegetables in there. Make sure they are dried off as much as possible so they won't spatter. The idea behind stir-frying is to do small quantities at a time, so that the pieces get sizzling hot without spending a lot of time getting overcooked. If you try to do too much at a time, it will "stew" in its own juices before the entire mass gets hot enough. Once again, stop cooking BEFORE the asparagus turns olive green.
     Get them out of that hot pan as soon as they are ready, and season with a little salt and pepper. Some sliced mushrooms would also go well with this mixture; but I wouldn't use an onion; it would tend to overpower the asparagus. Remember, you are not going to cook it completely through.





     Then, of course, there is Asparagus Omelet, Asparagus Pie, Asparagus on toast, Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce, et cetera. You are on your own here. Like I said, fresh asparagus doesn't need anything much to enhance its flavor. The season is short, enjoy it! Save the fancy recipes for the frozen stuff during the winter.





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11/23/02