More than 50,000 metric tons are harvested
annually in California.
Asparagus was first planted in California
during the 1850's. The moderate climate, together with a variety of
fertile soil, contributes to the outstanding quality of Asparagus
grown in California.
- When buying asparagus, look for firm
straight spears with closed, compact tips
- Asparagus should be rich green in color
- Choose thick or thin spears based on preference
or if your recipe specifies thin or thick spears. There is no difference in the tenderness of
thin versus thick asparagus spears.
- Store fresh asparagus upright in a jar with
2-inches of water or wrap asparagus loosely with a moist paper towel
in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
- To peel or not to peel? Personally, I prefer to peel the
bottom two inches of asparagus spears for a more
interesting visual presentation using a vegetable peeler.
- Fresh asparagus cooks quickly — keep
one spear as your "test spear" and check its doneness throughout the
- Steaming Method: in a saucepan with about two
inches of water and a metal steamer gadget, place spears
onto steamer, cover pot and steam
approximately 5 minutes - taste-test and cook longer if desired.
- Blanching Method: drop asparagus
spears in rapidly boiling salted water for 3 to 4 minutes uncovered.
Drain and refresh asparagus in ice water - dry well with paper
- Microwave cooking: place asparagus in a glass
microwave-proof dish with
1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt. Cover with paper towel leaving a vent open and cook
on HIGH for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir Frying: cut spears into diagonal pieces and stir fry in a
wok with a tablespoon of peanut oil, minced garlic, minced fresh ginger and soy
- One cup of fresh asparagus contains 85% of the
adult recommended daily allowance for Vitamin C, and over 30% of the
daily requirement for vitamin A.
- Nutritional information: Look for nutritional
labeling on the asparagus sold at your supermarket but if no
nutritional information is available, here's the information for a
serving size of 5 spears or 93 grams.
with Red Peppers
terra medi® Extra Virgin olive oil
||Red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut julienne
||garlic, finely minced
||fresh asparagus spears, about 6" long, ends peeled
||strips of leek, blanched
||salt and freshly ground black pepper
||Extra Virgin Olive
Oil, seasoned with a pinch each of salt, black pepper,
dried oregano and basil
Bring water to a rapid boil in a large stock pot. Add a
tablespoon of sea salt. Blanch asparagus for 3 - 5
minutes. Taste-test for desired doneness. Remove asparagus with tongs
and plunge into a bowl of ice water for a few minutes. Remove and pat
dry with paper towels and reserve.
In the same pot of boiling water, blanch the leek
strips for 1 minute or until they are wilted and pliable. Rinse
leek strips in ice
water, pat dry and reserve.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and
sauté red pepper strips for 5 minutes stirring frequently to prevent
browning. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove
peppers to a serving platter.
To assemble, arrange 6 spears in a bundle and tie
with a strip of leek. Place bundles in a microwave proof dish and reheat
for 2 minutes just before serving. Place on the bed of red peppers and
pour the seasoned olive oil over all. If preparing ahead, assemble
the dish and reheat - covered with plastic wrap in a microwave oven for
2 - 3 minutes at 80% power. (Based on a 600-700 watt oven)
*Number of asparagus for each bundle depends on
their thickness - if asparagus spears are thick you will
need only 3 or 4 per bundle.