No vegetable says “spring” quite like asparagus. A source of nutrients like fiber, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc, these stalks also bring seasonal color and flavor to your dishes. Any student working toward a culinary arts certificate online should explore the delicious possibilities of cooking with asparagus.
1. Add flavor to a roasted classic
“Roasted and seasoned asparagus makes an ideal side dish.”
Roasted and seasoned asparagus makes an ideal side dish. However, you can bring in more excitement to the meal by adding the right ingredients, as suggested by Damn Delicious. The directions begin with lightly coating a baking sheet with oil while heating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Set the trimmed asparagus on the sheet with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss the veggies before placing the sheet in the oven. Cook for up to 10 minutes, checking for the stalks to grow tender. Toss with pressed garlic, grated Parmesan and lemon juice.
2. Soup up your spring produce
Asparagus is a great addition to a seasonal soup, and Giada De Laurentiis offered a recipe that pairs the vegetables with herbed goat cheese. Prepare the cheese by combining with chopped basil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Coat a tablespoon measuring cup with cooking spray before using it to scoop out balls of cheese and set them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Move the sheet into the refrigerator for half an hour.
Meanwhile, add butter to a Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute a sliced leek for three or four minutes before pouring in chicken broth, plus basil, salt, pepper, and two pounds of trimmed and chopped asparagus. Raise the heat to high until the broth starts boiling, and then reduce to a simmer.
Cook for about 15 minutes, watching for the asparagus to become tender. Use an immersion blender until the soup is smooth, and season with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls garnished by the herbed goat cheese.
3. Prepare a Sichuan-inspired salad
Serious Eats provided a great way to enjoy asparagus that draws on the flavors of Chinese cuisine. The key is the dressing, which starts with toasting Chinese dried red peppers and Sichuan peppercorns and then crushing them into flakes. Place the crushed peppers in a saucepan.
Heat vegetable oil in a skillet on medium heat until it shimmers, and then pour over the flakes to create a chili oil. Allow a few minutes to cool before transferring into a bowl and adding sesame seeds. In separate bowl, stir together sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and garlic before adding the chili oil.
Boil salted water and cook the asparagus for about a minute, looking for it to turn a bright green. Drain and stop the cooking by running cold water over the veggies. Dry off the asparagus and then combine with tofu, scallions and the dressing.
Asparagus is a versatile way to create spring-appropriate dishes with distinctive flavor and texture. Try these recipes, and then create your own seasonal items as part of your culinary academy training.