What to do with asparagus
The long-awaited British asparagus season has arrived. For many, it’s a truly exciting time of year, marking the turn in the weather that brings beautiful produce with it – these majestic, emerald green spheres heralding the first signs of spring.
Shooting up out of the earth in the spring sunshine, each stem is packed with goodness and flavour. We explore both via easy recipes, and notes from our nutritionist: Sue Camp.
Nutritional Notes from our expert Sue Camp
Asparagus is one of our favourite Spring vegetables! The most common type is green, but also look out for white, which is more delicate and difficult to harvest, and purple, which is smaller and fruitier in flavour. Asparagus is low in calories but packs in the nutrients including valuable antioxidants Vitamin A, C, E and K as well as folate, potassium, and phosphorous. Grilling asparagus with a little olive oil can help the body absorb those fat soluble vitamins (A, E and K). It also includes healthy levels of fibre which is valuable for digestive health. Just 90g (half a cup) includes 2.2g of protein too. One of the amino acids it contains is called asparagine, which serves as a natural diuretic and can help rid the body of excess fluid & salts. This may be important for those who have oedema or high blood pressure. It can be cooked in a variety of ways including grilling, steaming, roasting and sautéing. It’s a versatile ingredient that can be added to a variety of dishes including salads, stir-fries, frittatas, omelettes and pastas. Enjoy!
Different Ways to Cook with Asparagus
The fastest way to prepare asparagus and retain all of its nutrients, is a quick steam. Place in a bamboo or metal basket over boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Serve with butter, or olive oil, and a little salt.
To elicit the rich, umami flavour of asparagus, pre-heat your oven to 180-degrees Celsius and roast spheres tossed in olive oil and a little salt. Roast for 12 minutes, or until tender.
Waste not, want not! The tip of the sphere is the best part to eat, with many people discarding the lower ends. We promote saving them, including a few tips, to create a delicious soup. Saute onion and potato until soft, cover with stock and throw in your asparagus ends. Add a Parmesan rind if you happen to have one as this adds an extra depth. Simmer until everything is tender and then blend until smooth. Add flavoursome touches such as crushed, smoked almonds, fresh lemon zest, and plenty more grated parmesan.