Asparagus Lovers Unite!
To know asparagus is to love asparagus. Asparagus not only tastes great, it’s also one of the most nutrient-rich of all vegetables!
Among vegetables, asparagus is the leading supplier of folic acid. It’s also a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and thiamin. Asparagus is low in sodium and contains no fat or cholesterol.
Asparagus – along with avocados and watermelons – is rich in dietary sources of gluthathione, too. Gluathathione is an antioxidant that plays a prominent role in the body’s ability to protect cells against destructive effects such as free radicals, environmental pollutants, and more.
When picking asparagus, look for firm spears with a uniform diameter and with closed, compact tips. If all the spears are about the same, they will cook more evenly. Also, larger diameter spears tend to be more tender.
Asparagus is best enjoyed immediately after purchase. Asparagus should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 2-3 days for best quality. Trim the stem ends about ¼ inch and wash in warm water several times before storing. Wrap the stem ends in a moist paper towel to maintain freshness or even stand upright in two inches of cold water.
Cooking asparagus takes only minutes. It can be boiled, steamed, microwaved or stir-fried. You absolutely do not want to overcook asparagus. Overcooking will cause the asparagus to lose many of the nutrients.
Trim the stem ends slightly. Boil asparagus in ½ cup of water or steam in the steamer in 1 ½ -2 inches of water. Either method takes about 6-8 minutes. Cook until crisp and tender.
To microwave asparagus, use a microwavable baking dish or bowl. If cooking whole spears, arrange with the tips in the center. Add ¼ cup of water, cover and cook for 4-7 minutes for spears, 3-5 for cuts and tips.
To stir-fry, cut spears diagonally in ½ inch pieces, leaving the tips whole. In a skillet, add pieces of butter or hot oil and cook at medium-high heat for only 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly until tender.
Asparagus & Green Beans with Tarragon Lemon Dip
1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
1 cup mayonnaise
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
2 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
Place asparagus spears and green beans in 1 inch of boiling water. Add sprinkle of salt, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain, cool and place on a serving plate. Mix the dip ingredients: mayonnaise, lemon, chopped shallot, tarragon and parsley in a small bowl. Add some fresh grinds of pepper and garnish with sprigs of parsley and tarragon. Set dip alongside vegetables.
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