Preparing & Cooking
Preparing Green Asparagus
Simply snap off any woody ends from each spear using your forefinger and thumb. Snap the asparagus as close to the woody end as possible to minimise wastage. Alternatively, run a knife along the stalk until it meets less resistance, and then cut the end off at this point. The delicious herbaceous flavour and distinctive shape of green asparagus add something special to dishes across the menu from soups and starters to main dishes, BBQs and salads - and it can be enjoyed both raw and cooked.
Preparing White Asparagus
White asparagus spears are usually thicker than green asparagus and have a thicker outer layer - simply use a vegetable peeler to carefully remove the outer layer of each spear starting 3-4cm from the tip and finishing at the bottom of each spear. Snap or trim off any woody end. White asparagus is traditionally poached, boiled or steamed and served with butter but you can cook it much the same way as green asparagus including grilling and roasting.
Preparing Purple Asparagus
Purple asparagus spears are also usually thicker than green asparagus. When purple asparagus spears are sliced, the cream coloured flesh provides an especially effective presentation for salads and stir-fries. When purple asparagus is cooked using common cooking methods it turns a bronze colour so it’s best to add it for the last minute of cooking time such as in stir-fries. To retain its fascinating colour, purple asparagus is best eaten raw in salads. Try it in a salad with fruit such as strawberries, which complement the fruity flavour of purple asparagus.
To blanch small amounts (1-2 bunches): Place asparagus in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand for 30-60 seconds. Remove asparagus and place in a separate large bowl of cold water for 1 minute to prevent further cooking. Remove and pat dry with clean tea towel.
To blanch larger amounts: Blanch asparagus in batches of 2-3 bunches at a time to maintain the temperature of the water. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and carefully add the asparagus. Return water to the boil and cook for 1 minute and then remove immediately. Transfer the asparagus to the bowl of iced water to reduce the temperature quickly and prevent further cooking. When cooled (1-2 minutes), remove asparagus and drain well on clean tea towels.
Wash 2 bunches asparagus and remove any woody ends. With water clinging to the spears, place asparagus in a microwave safe dish. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2-3 minutes. Remove from microwave oven and set side for 1-2 minutes. Season and serve with your favourite sauce or dressing.
Place asparagus in a steamer insert or basket and place over a saucepan with 2 cm boiling water. Cover and steam for 3-5 minutes (depending on thickness of spears) until asparagus is just tender but still bright green.
Pre heat oven to 210°C. Wash 2 bunches asparagus and remove any woody ends. Place asparagus in a large bowl and combine with 2-3 teaspoons olive oil, chopped garlic (optional), salt flakes and freshly ground pepper. Roast asparagus until just tender, 6-8 minutes depending on thickness of spears.
Wash 2 bunches asparagus and remove any woody ends. Cut asparagus into slices to suit your recipe. Heat a wok or frying pan over medium to high heat, add a little oil and stir-fry asparagus 2-5 minutes depending on size of slices.
Char-grilling and BBQing Asparagus
Wash 2 bunches asparagus and remove any woody ends. Place asparagus in a large bowl and combine with 2-3 teaspoons olive oil, chopped garlic (optional), salt flakes and freshly ground pepper. Heat a BBQ or char-grill and cook asparagus until just tender, 4-5 minutes, turning over after 2 minutes. Remove from the heat immediately and serve.