Monday, April 1, 2013

Easy Way to Cook Asparagus

For the longest time, I struggled with cooking asparagus. I tried steaming, baking, grilling and microwaving. It never turned out right.  Then I read a recipe (I wish I could remember where) that used this easy method. I tried it and … drumroll … it worked!  Maybe you already know how to cook asparagus but you’d like another method to have in your repertoire. Maybe, like me, you never quite mastered it. Either way, you will love this easy, foolproof, three-step way to cook asparagus.

Start by gathering your equipment:
·        A fry pan. Yes, a fry pan. You use a fry pan for two reasons: 1) No need to cut the asparagus spears (it’s prettier to serve when the spears are not cut), and 2) You use the same pan for steps 1 and 3.

·        A bowl filled with half ice and half water (optional),  a dinner plate with a few paper towels on it

Step one
Wash the asparagus and either cut or snap off the ends. Bring a few inches of salted water to boil in your fry pan. Once the water is boiling add the asparagus and simmer until it’s crisp-tender. The time will vary according to how thick your asparagus is. I test it with a fork. It takes less time than you think, so don’t wander away or get sidetracked (this never happens to me … ).

Step two
You have two choices here:

1)    Plunge your asparagus into the ice water bath, remove and pat dry with the paper towels on the dinner plate.  I do this if I am serving the asparagus to dinner guests and there will be a gap between steps two and three. Note: this is a great dish for dinner parties because you can make it a few hours ahead and just do step three prior to serving.

2)    If you are making dinner for yourself and there is no gap between steps two and three, you can just remove the asparagus from the fry pan, pat it dry and continue.

Step three
Dry the fry pan and heat some olive oil in it. Add the asparagus and turn it to coat (use a fork or tongs).  Let the asparagus heat through and then add salt, pepper and perhaps some balsamic vinegar.  Remove from the heat and serve.

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