Asparagus



Quick Facts

Type: Vegetable
Quantity sold in: lb.
Availability: May
Flavor: Sweet, tender, earthy
Use: Can be consumed raw or cooked
Grown in: Field
Grown by: Horticulture Research Station
Processing: Washed, cut and sanitized



Storage and Preparation

Short Term Storage: Asparagus should be stored in the refrigerator with the cut end placed in 1 inch of water in a bowl or the cut end can be wrapped in a damp paper towel.
Long Term Storage: Asparagus can be frozen or canned.
More information from ISU extension on:

Freezing
Canning

Preparation: Asparagus should be washed thoroughly with cold running water before preparation.  Asparagus should be trimmed before cooking or eating.  Hold the asparagus spear with one end in each hand.  Bend the spear until it snaps.  The asparagus should naturally break at the place that it begins to turn woody.  Discard the ends of the asparagus.  Asparagus can be boiled, grilled, roasted, sautéed, steamed or even eaten raw.



Pairings and Nutrition

Pairing: Asparagus has a very hearty earthy rich flavor that goes well with meat.  Asparagus is a quick easy side dish.  Asparagus can be used in stir-fry’s, pasta dishes or with eggs as well.
Nutrition: Adults should consume 2.5-3 cups of vegetables per day according to the USDA  MyPlate recommendations. Asparagus is a source of vitamins A, C and K.  It also provides potassium and other minerals too.



Asparagus Recipes


Quick Skillet Asparagus
Ingredients:

  • 4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. medium asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Heat a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.
  2. Add asparagus to pan; cook 3 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender and browned, stirring frequently.
  3. Transfer to a serving platter. Add rind, juice, and salt, tossing to coat.

Garlic Roasted Asparagus
Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. asparagus spears (thick spears are best for roasting)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse clean the asparagus. Break the tough ends off of the asparagus and discard.
  2. Lay the asparagus spears out in a single layer in a baking dish or a foil-covered roasting pan. Drizzle olive oil over the spears, roll the asparagus back and forth until they are all covered with a thin layer of olive oil. Sprinkle with minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Rub over the asparagus so that they are evenly distributed.
  3. Place pan in oven and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus spears are, until lightly browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Drizzle with lemon juice before serving.

Lemon Pasta with Asparagus and Bacon
Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. asparagus, ends trimmed, stalks and tips cut into 1-inch segments
  • Salt
  • 1/4 lb. bacon, finely sliced
  • 8 scallions, finely sliced, whites and greens reserved separately
  • 1 lb. fettucine or other noodle-shaped pasta
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and cored, finely minced
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. finely minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for garnish

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until just tender but still bright green, about 2 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath to chill. Dry carefully and set aside. Keep water on stove for pasta.
  2. Add bacon to a large saucepan or dutch oven and set over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is crisp and rendered, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus, increase heat to high, and cook, tossing and stirring frequently until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add scallion whites and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Remove from heat and add 1 cup asparagus cooking water to the pan.
  4. Return the asparagus water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water, and add to pot with bacon and asparagus. Do not return pot to heat.
  5. Add lemon juice and zest, jalapeño, butter, parsley, scallion greens, and plenty of black pepper. Stir until butter is melted. Add grated cheese and extra pasta water, stirring until desired consistency is reached. Season to taste with salt and more pepper.
  6. Serve immediately, garnishing with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.