So much asparagus, so little time! That’s how we feel in spring when this veggie starts popping up. But if you’ve never cooked asparagus before, you may feel a bit mystified by the fascination with this long and skinny veggie. Or maybe you’ve steamed it, only to overdo it and render that asparagus soggy and mushy? Either way, we’ve got you covered with three super-simple ways to cook asparagus.
But First: How to Prep & Store Asparagus
When you get home from the store (or market), place that bunch of asparagus spears in a glass jar or vase with water, standing straight up like flowers. Cover the top loosely with a plastic bag and refrigerate until ready to use.
Before you cook asparagus, you’ll want to prep them: You don’t want to eat those stalk-like woody ends. Snap them off where they naturally bend. It’s an easy and quick project and that kids of all ages can handle.
3 Super-Simple Ways to Cook Asparagus
1. Roast it until perfectly crispy.
There are few veggies that don’t benefit from roasting, but asparagus roasts quickly and gets charred and sweet when roasted (ditto on the grill, if you have one). You really don’t need much more than some good olive oil, salt and pepper, and maybe some Parmesan and lemon zest. Look for thicker asparagus — it’ll stand up better to the high heat of the oven — and serve it alongside roasted chicken, salmon, or these miso-lime scallops.
Get a recipe: Perfect Roasted Asparagus from Cookie and Kate
2. Shave it and add it to a salad.
There’s something so lovely about taking a veggie peeler and shaving off long greenish ribbons of fresh asparagus to make them salad worthy. Medium to thinner stalks will make your life easier when curling off ribbons of this grassy, sweet veggie. Pair them with other springy greens like peas and arugula and a bright and zippy lemon dressing.
Get a recipe: Shaved Asparagus Salad from Two Peas and Their Pod
3. Pan Saute it and toss with butter, garlic, and fresh herbs.
Sauteeing asparagus is speedy, since you’re cutting an already-tender veggie into smaller pieces and cooking over high heat. The thinner the asparagus, the faster it will cook in a pan with some butter or olive oil, garlic, shallots, or however you like it.
Get a recipe: Sauteed Asparagus from Dinner at the Zoo