9 Ways to Eat Asparagus All Spring
When asparagus first appears at farmers markets in late March, we get a little overeager. Sure, the bright-green stalks can be found in supermarkets year-round, but in-season asparagus is a completely different vegetable when it comes to both flavor and texture. Nothing screams spring like crisp, sweet asparagus at its peak. Here are nine ways to ensure that you won’t get tired of it all season long.
Ina is the queen of roasting vegetables to perfection with just olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Asparagus prepared this way is a thing of beauty, but you could also up the ante and sprinkle on some Parmesan for the last minute of cooking like she does in this variation.
Let’s face it: Wrapping foods in bacon never gets old. Trisha Yearwood bundles fresh asparagus with porky slices — just one piece per four to six spears, depending on their thickness — and ladles on a salty-sweet sauce. Then she roasts the bundles until the bacon is fully cooked and crispy and the asparagus is tender and infused with meaty flavor.
This risotto from Food Network Magazine is packed with asparagus flavor from start to finish. The base of the recipe is an easy asparagus broth made with the bottoms of the stalks (which you otherwise might toss!), water and thyme. Use this to cook the risotto, ladle by ladle, instead of plain water or broth, for the ultimate spring dish.
Asparagus and eggs were meant to be together. Let the spears star in custardy quiches or cheesy frittatas, like this one with tomato and fontina from Giada De Laurentiis.
In addition to tasting great, whole asparagus spears are pretty to look at. Show them off as the topping of this super-simple tart made with frozen puff pastry and a duo of nutty cheeses. Did we mention that asparagus and cheese also love each other?
Another perk of asparagus is that it doesn’t need to be served hot. It’s just as tasty at room temperature or in a chilled salad like this one from Alex Guarnaschelli, dressed with a classic lemon-Dijon vinaigrette.
A little char from the grill works wonders on asparagus — just be careful not to let the spears fall through the grates. Serve simply grilled asparagus as a side dish at your next cookout, or elevate it in a fully composed dish like this one from Anne Burrell, paired with eggs, cheese (see?) and a springy touch of lemon.
The toast trend shows no signs of tapering off, and we’re not complaining. Make super-seasonal crostini with asparagus and goat cheese, as Valerie Bertinelli does in this tasty dish that's perfect as an appetizer or a snack.
Chop asparagus spears crosswise into 1-inch pieces, which are perfect to toss with short pasta, like the farfalle in Giada’s springy dish. Earthy cremini mushrooms, crunchy walnuts and a creamy sauce enriched with mascarpone mingle beautifully with this season’s star vegetable.