Thursday, March 17, 2016

How I Boil Asparagus

I take my responsibility as the Home Economics teacher seriously. I've been making certain Danny knows the basics so he can feed himself decently when he's on his own. Yesterday, I showed him how to boil asparagus, and I thought it might be a good lesson to share.

After trimming the stalks and peeling what remains, I tie the spears in small bundles with kitchen twine. The reason for this is simple-they are easier to remove from a pot with a pair of tongs, than trying to dump them into a colander without breaking off the tips. Tying them in bundles ensures you'll have nice looking spears.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water boils, add a generous amount of salt (I do about a teaspoon) and gently place the bundles in the water. Let the water return to boiling and then reduce to a gentle boil. Cook about five minutes, but test frequently as it will vary depending on the asparagus.
Remove them to a colander, and gently run under cold water to stop the cooking and refresh the colour.

And there you have it-asparagus ready for a veggie bacon, mayo and asparagus sandwich on toasted white bread. You can use real bacon if you like.

Years ago, I knew this as a "Grass Sandwich" the name derived from Sparrow Grass which is similar to asparagus. In recent years however, it has come to have an entirely different (and vulgar) meaning so much so that I don't advise walking into a New England diner and ordering a Grass Sandwich. These days, you're better off asking for asparagus.


Beth Waltz said...

Tying the bunches with twine: Why didn't I figure that out years ago?!

I do enjoy cold, buttered asparagus with cold ham and mustard, and a well-chilled Reisling, especially since I learned in Home Ec many decades ago that one may eat asparagus with one's fingers (but only after one has acquired a portion using the appropriate silver-plated asparagus tongs -- unless, of course, one's servant doled them out).

Bibi Maizoon said...

I miss asparagus. And celery & nectarines.
The asparagus we have here is the sparrow grass sort, Nepalis use it a simple stir fry with a clove of garlic, a dried red chili, and a sprinkling of szechwan peppercorns after cooking.
I love the gorgeous brown transfer plate.

Goody said...


I actually enjoy watching Danny fumble around with a fork and knife trying to eat the spears so, shhhh. Don't tell him it is finger food!

That sounds good-I'll have to give it a try during the season. I love red chili flakes on just about everything, so why not asparagus? If only I could get decent garlic.

No celery would be tough for me. I'd have to learn how to cook all over again.

Mim said...

I have never heard of asparagus in sandwiches - interesting! I usually just steam it, but then we don't tend to get it in large quantities.