Monday, February 29, 2016

Is Asparagus Your Enemy?


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.

Uncooked Asparagus
 Spicy Stir-Fried Asparagus – serves 3-4  
2 teaspoons olive or canola oil 
1 teaspoon chopped garlic 
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger 
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional) 
1 pound asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces 
1 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.
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