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Asparagus Tips

  • 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 cooking time.
  • 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 towel.
  • 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 sauce.
  • 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.

Asparagus with Red Peppers

1 Tablespoon terra medi® Extra Virgin olive oil
2 Red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut julienne
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
*36 fresh asparagus spears, about 6" long, ends peeled
6 strips of leek, blanched
  salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons 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.




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