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Aspara-guess what's for dinner?


More than just a vibrant vegetable; Asparagus is a culinary star packed with health benefits, heralding the arrival of spring with its tender shoots.


Versatile in the kitchen, asparagus can be grilled, roasted, blanched, or sautéed, adding a sophisticated flair to any dish. Its crisp texture and subtle, slightly grassy flavor make it a perfect complement to a variety of dishes, from creamy pastas to refreshing salads. Additionally, asparagus offers a boost of vitamins A, C, E, and K, fiber, folate, and protein, alongside asparagine—an amino acid that acts as a natural diuretic to help detoxify the body.

Incorporating asparagus into your diet is not only beneficial for its low calorie count and nutrient richness but also for its versatility and flavor that can elevate any meal.


It's particularly effective in dishes like frittatas or risottos, where its texture and health benefits can be fully appreciated. Whether you're aiming to maintain a healthy lifestyle or simply diversify your vegetable intake, asparagus provides a delicious and nutritious option ready to enhance your culinary creations.


Now, let’s explore some recipes that showcase the unique qualities of asparagus in delicious and innovative ways.


Prepping Asparagus

To prep asparagus for cooking, start by rinsing the spears under cold water to remove any dirt or grit. Then, hold each spear at both ends and gently bend it to feel where the woody stalk begins; cut the asparagus where the woody stalk ends and the tender stem begins.


Discard the woody bases. If the spears are particularly thick, you might also want to peel the lower stalks with a vegetable peeler to ensure even cooking and a tender bite. Your asparagus is now ready to be cooked according to your recipe, whether it’s steaming, roasting, grilling, or another method.




Bacon Wrapped Grilled Asparagus

  • 18 spears trimmed asparagus

  • 6 slices thin slices bacon

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. Preheat your grill to high heat a (400F)

  2. Group the asparagus spears into bundles of three.

  3. Take a slice of bacon and wrap it around each bundle, then arrange them on heavy duty aluminum foil.

  4. Brush the bundles with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Grill for 18-20 minutes flipping halfway through. Bacon should be crispy and golden. Once done, remove the asparagus and lightly brush with balsamic vinegar before serving.




Scallion & Asparagus Pizza

Ingredients for Topping:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

  • ½ cup minced parsley

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

  • 6 to 8 thick asparagus stalks





For the Pizza:

  • 1 pizza dough (homemade or store bought)

  • 2 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese

  • 2 ounces shredded or torn mozzarella cheese


Instructions:

  1. Depending on your setup, preheat your pizza stone, grill, or pizza oven according to manufacturer instructions or your personal preferences.

  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, followed by the thinly sliced scallions. Cook until the scallions begin to crisp, then stir in the crushed red pepper. Continue cooking until the scallions are fully crispy. Remove from heat, and stir in the toasted sesame seeds, minced parsley, lemon juice, and salt.

  3. Holding the tougher end of the asparagus, use a vegetable peeler to shave the spears into thin ribbons. Place the shaved asparagus in a bowl, and toss it with the scallion oil mixture to coat evenly.

  4. On a pizza peel lightly dusted with cornmeal, stretch or roll out your pizza dough to your desired size. Evenly distribute the asparagus and scallion oil mixture over the dough, ensuring to spread it out. Top with both types of shredded cheese.

  5. Transfer the pizza to your preheated cooking surface. Bake according to your equipment's guidelines or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.


This recipe transforms simple ingredients into a gourmet pizza with a delightful blend of flavors and textures. The crisp asparagus paired with the rich, melted cheeses makes for a delicious meal sure to impress.





Springtime Asparagus Soup

This silky asparagus soup delivers a rich flavor without the use of heavy cream—simply pureed vegetables, broth, and Parmesan cheese blended into silky perfection.

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches asparagus (about 2¼ pounds)

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from one lemon)

  • ½ cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for garnish

  • A handful of fresh herbs, such as thyme, dill, or basil (optional, for garnish)


Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, cooking until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Be careful not to brown them; lower the heat if necessary.

  2. Chop asparagus into ½-inch pieces.

  3. Add the chopped asparagus, chicken broth, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a low simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender.

  4. In a small pot, bring salted water to a boil. Cook the reserved asparagus tips until tender-crisp, about a few minutes. Drain and immediately plunge them into ice water to halt cooking and preserve their color. Once cool, drain and set aside.

  5. Puree the soup using an immersion blender until smooth. If using a standard blender, carefully puree the soup in batches, then return it to the pot. Reheat the soup to a simmer, then stir in the lemon juice and ½ cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. For a thicker consistency, continue to simmer the soup uncovered until it reduces to your liking.

  6. Serve the soup in bowls topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano, and cracked black pepper.

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