Sunday, June 01, 2014

How to Boil Asparagus

Steaming and roasting seem to be the preferred treatment for asparagus these days, both of which are delicious. Boiling anything, much less vegetables has fallen out of fashion, but it is a good technique to know as it works so well for asparagus that will be chilled, and served with a salad course.

You'll need kitchen twine for this, as well as a vegetable peeler.

Begin by snapping off the thick, tough part of the stem. If you gently bend the stalk, it will snap at the point where it begins getting tough. You can of course use that part, but be sure to peel it, and cook it separately as it will take longer.

Peel your asparagus stalks carefully taking care not to snap them. If you lay the stalk on a counter or cutting board it will flop less, preventing breakage.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, tie the asparagus stalks in bundles of about 6 or7. When the water comes to a boil, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the asparagus. Reduce the heat slightly so that they boil, but not so hard that they break. Cook 5 minutes, then begin checking for doneness. Time will depend on the thickness of the stalks. When done, gently remove them with tongs (of you pour the pot into a colander you will break off the tips). Gently run beneath cold water to refresh the colour and stop the cooking. Drain, snip the twine, and chill before dressing (you can dress them warm if using a vinaigrette).

I was an adult before I knew asparagus could be eaten warm, so I suppose I favour it chilled in salads due to familiarity. If you've never had boiled, chilled asparagus it is quite a treat.


pastcaring said...

I do like asparagus, but rarely buy it. I need to do something about that! xxx

Goody said...

I stopped making it when Danny was little because it seemed silly to waste such an expensive vegetable. Now that he's developed a taste for it, I buy it more often. Most of ours comes from Peru, except for a few weeks in early spring when the local stuff is around.