This quick-cooking vegetable is great for weeknight suppers and for special occasions.
Prep tips: Make the most of asparagus by buying and cooking it properly.
Tip #1: If you're planning to eat your asparagus in a day or two, keep it in the produce drawer. For longer than that, store it standing in water in the refrigerator with a damp paper towel covering the tips.
Tip #2: Asparagus has a natural breaking point between the woody bottom and delicate middle—snap each stalk by hand to find out where it is. If the stalks are thick, peel them with a vegetable peeler.
Tip #3: Thick stalks have more flavor, but thin stalks don't require peeling, so choose according to your tastes. Either way, the cut end should look moist.
Tip #4: To blanch asparagus, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the stalks in and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Use right away, or plunge in ice water, drain, pat dry, wrap and refrigerate to use later.
Freshen your repertoire! Tired of your typical asparagus recipes? Here are some ways to shake it up.
*Roast. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper; roast in a single layer at 400°F for 25 minutes, shaking pan once or twice.
*Sauté. Cook blanched asparagus in olive oil with shrimp and garlic. Serve on top of pasta.
*Garnish. Top deviled eggs with blanched asparagus tips; sprinkle with paprika. Save the stalks to put into omelets the next day.
Asparagus doesn't have to just be a dinner staple—squeeze 'em early and add them to egg dishes, like this Asparagus and Goat Cheese Frittata recipe. And tell us: What's your favorite way to eat this veggie?