You don’t have to be intimidated by how to cook asparagus. With the right cooking method, you can make asparagus as a simple and delicious side dish. Pan grilling is an easy way you can enjoy tender asparagus every time.
All about Asparagus
Asparagus has been cultivated for centuries as a vegetable crop and is known for its distinctive taste and crunchy texture. Leading producers of asparagus are China, Peru, Mexico, Germany, and Thailand.
Asparagus is low in calories, fat, and sodium, so it is a great addition to any healthy diet. It is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients, all of which make it a nutritious food choice. Asparagus is rich in fiber, B vitamins, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, copper, potassium, and selenium.
You can eat asparagus raw or cooked in various ways. When it comes to cooking asparagus, the key is to keep it simple and don’t overdo it. Asparagus has a delicate flavor that you can overwhelm by too many ingredients. It can be boiled, steamed, grilled, or roasted. The tips are often enjoyed raw because they are particularly tender. The pan grilling technique in this recipe is a simple way to cook asparagus.
Asparagus is often used as a side dish or in salads but can also be added to soups and casseroles for an extra burst of flavor. If you cut them into smaller pieces and sautee them in olive oil, you can incorporate them into omelets or risotto.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Bunch of asparagus (around 14 oz)
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
How to Cook Asparagus
- Prep the asparagus by snapping off the end of the stems. You don’t need to do this with a knife but with your hands. Asparagus will break where it is starting to be tender, so it’s better to do it this way than with a knife. If you try to snap it in a certain place and it doesn’t break, then that part is still very tough. Try to snap the asparagus spear a bit higher.
- Pour the olive oil onto the grilling pan and heat on medium heat.
- Spread the asparagus on the grilling pan and season it with salt and pepper.
- Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on one side, then flip the asparagus to cook the other side.
Tips and Variations for Cooking Asparagus
Consider these tips and variations for choosing and cooking asparagus:
- When shopping for asparagus, look for spears with firm and smooth stalks that are deep green in color with no signs of wilting or yellowing.
- Avoid white-tipped asparagus spears—these indicate that the vegetable is overripe.
- If you plan on eating the asparagus raw, select thin spears. Thicker stalks often have more flavor and texture and are best cooked.
- Smell your selection before buying—any unpleasant odor indicates that the asparagus may have gone bad.
- Try different seasonings, marinades, or other ingredients to enhance the flavor of the asparagus.
- Combine balsamic vinegar and olive oil with garlic and herbs, such as oregano and thyme. The result is a tangy and flavorful side dish.
- Toss the spears in olive oil and then coat them with grated Parmesan cheese before cooking.
- For a zesty twist on asparagus, add fresh lemon juice and garlic to the asparagus.
How to Cook Asparagus FAQs
What is the best way to store fresh asparagus until I am ready to cook it?
Store fresh asparagus in the refrigerator in an airtight container lined with a damp paper towel to keep it fresh for up to three days.
How can I cook asparagus if I don’t have a grilling pan?
You can follow the recipe above with a cast iron skillet if you don’t have a grilling pan. Or you can roast the asparagus in the oven. Toss the asparagus spears with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them out on a large baking sheet. Roast at 425 degrees F (218 degrees C) for around 10 minutes, tossing halfway through.
How do I store leftovers of cooked asparagus?
You can store leftovers of cooked asparagus in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
Other Vegetable Recipes
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Classic Crunchy Marinated Vegetable Salad
- Air Fryer Spaghetti Squash
- Unreal Bang Bang Broccoli
Asparagus is a simple dish to add flavor and nutrition to any meal. Knowing how to cook asparagus with a few ingredients, you can create a side dish that pairs well with almost any entree. Remember not to overdo the seasoning or cooking — the delicate flavor of asparagus should be allowed to shine. And if you’re looking for other ways to enjoy this nutrient-rich veggie, try experimenting with different seasonings and marinades for an extra burst of flavor.