I never imagined vegetables could be considered evil until I heard a 12-year-old say, “Asparagus is my enemy.” A food fight was brewing at my dinner table until a portion of salad took the place of the offending vegetable.
I had a good laugh as I piled my plate with extra asparagus. It’s one of my favorites, now that I’ve learned that it doesn’t just come in a can. When I was growing up, I thought asparagus was pale green or white and slightly mushy. I got used to the taste, but for some reason it was served to company, and I usually was allowed just 1 or 2 spears.
When I discovered fresh asparagus, I thought something was wrong with it because it was so green. Also, I was hesitant to cook it because recipes insisted that I peel the stalks since they were tough. I tried and decided it was too much trouble. Then I read a cooking tip that said to hold a spear in two hands and bend it near the cut end until it snaps. Then discard that tough bit of stalk. Snapping I could do.
Now that it’s asparagus season, I don’t know which recipe to make first: Oven-Roasted Asparagus, Asparagus Vinaigrette or Spicy Stir-Fried Asparagus. Maybe I’ll make all three.
Spicy Stir-Fried Asparagus – serves 3-4
2 teaspoons olive or canola oil1 teaspoon chopped garlic1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)1 pound asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces1 teaspoon soy sauce
Add oil to a wok or frying pan and begin heating over high heat. Add the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes (if desired) and stir-fry for about 1 minute.
Add the asparagus and continue stir-frying for about 3 more minutes, or until a sharp knife can penetrate a piece of stalk with just a little resistance. (NOTE: If you’re cooking with very skinny asparagus, reduce the stir-frying time to 1 minute.) Add the soy sauce and stir-fry for another 15 seconds.
Serve hot or set aside until needed and serve at room temperature.For easy-to-make recipes, order "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!"