Asparagus: A Surprisingly Versatile Vegetable

 in Recipes

Chances are when you were a kid, you probably didn’t care too much for asparagus because many people have a difficult time cooking it (no offense, mom). Novice chefs who are just starting to learn cooking online typically steam asparagus too long, leaving a mushy and watery vegetable without any flavor.

However, when this springtime veggie is prepared properly, it’s one of the healthiest, tastiest and most versatile produce items on the planet! Organic Gardening also says that it’s an easy item to find in your grocery store, as it is a resilient plant that can grow almost anywhere in the United States. According to Saveur magazine, its crunchy consistency, beautiful emerald hue and earthy flavor make it a perfect experiment with which to test your skills from culinary school. Try out a few of these simple recipes from Saveur and see how this underrated veggie shines:

Asparagus Mint Slaw
It turns out that asparagus is excellent when served raw too! Below is a recipe that welcomes in all the flavors of spring.

What you need:
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and shaved with a vegetable peeler
2 julienned carrots
1 finely chopped garlic clove
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 small julienned radishes
¼ cup freshly chopped mint
4 thinly sliced scallions
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

What to do:
Combine mint, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl with a whisk to create a dressing. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss to combine.

Shandong-style Asparagus (Liang Ban Lu-Shun)
This traditional Chinese banquet dish is the perfect recipe to whip up whenever you have a craving for flavorful Asian cuisine.

What to grab:
½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 drops red chili oil
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 ½ pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut crosswise into diagonal 2-inch pieces

How to prepare it:
Place a medium pot of water on your burner and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp but tender, around 1 ½ to 2 minutes. (Be careful not to overcook it!) Drain and then quickly plunge the asparagus pieces into ice-cold water to help them stay crisp. Set aside to cool down for 2 to 3 minutes. Keep the colander handy, because you will need to drain the vegetables again and pat them dry.

Meanwhile, whisk the soy sauce, sesame oil and chili oil in a bowl to combine. Toss your cooled asparagus into this mixture then garnish, transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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