Sautéed Asparagus

Sautéed asparagus is quite delectable in itself, but learn how you can play some more with these stir-fried green shoots by throwing in a few more ingredients.
Tastessence Staff
"Erection is chiefly caused by parsnips, artichokes, turnips, asparagus, candied ginger, acorns bruised to a powder drunk in muscatel."―Aristotle

For centuries, literally, the goodness of asparagus has been well-known with our forefathers trying to make the most of health benefits of asparagus. A storehouse of antioxidants, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, and vitamins K, C, and B, especially folates, asparagus is a vegetable which is also a much celebrated aphrodisiac. It is the high levels of vitamin E in asparagus which is said to boost the sex hormone production in the human body. Also, as per the archaic Indian medicinal treatises, it is a potent sexual stimulant given that it enhances the genito-urinary circulation, inducing verve and energy in an individual. At the same time, it is believed to palliate menstrual spasms and promote breast-milk production in lactating mothers. Thankfully, asparagus is quite a palatable green vegetable.

Generally, the fresh and soft green stalks are consumed steamed, grilled, boiled, or simply sautéed. But among all, I love sautéed asparagus and can have it with a simple cheese or mayo dip. But there is so much more you can do with it. Try serving it over pasta at a party, or simply as an accompaniment with some luscious Hollandaise sauce, or a tangy cilantro sauce, and you will never see a green veggie disappear from the plate any faster. Here are some popular and delectable variations to make it more alluring for all those who are declared 'green vegetable abhorrers'.

Quick and Easy Recipes

Before learning how to make asparagus, you must know that it must be very carefully cleaned before cooking, either by placing it under a running tap for 15 minutes or simply keeping it immersed in a vessel full of water overnight. This will get rid of all the dirt, soil and sand at the base of the veggie. Also, make sure not to over boil them. The same rule applies while stir-frying asparagus as well. Do not over fry it, as there is a distinct difference between crispy and burnt.

Sautéed Asparagus and Olive Oil
This you can have with salmon, chicken, or even some rice dish, like risotto. To stuff 6 hungry mouths, you must have,
  • Asparagus, 2 bunches
  • Garlic cloves, 2 (peeled and minced)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 3 tbsp.
  • Kosher salt, 1 tbsp.
  • Pepper, to taste
Procedure
Chop off the tips and bases of the asparagus shoots and then cut them into 3" pieces. Now, in a cooking pan, pour olive oil and heat until all the bubbles have disappeared. Remember, olive oil is undoubtedly the best cooking oil, but it also has a rather low smoking point. Also, some people like to use butter instead of oil. You may do the same if you like. When the oil is piping hot and about to start smoking, turn the stove knob to medium and slowly add the asparagus into it. Mizzle salt and pepper from top and sauté continuously. After about 10 to 12 minutes you will see that the asparagus has softened considerably and yet retains a crispy texture. It is then that you must add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes and then its ready to be served! Garnish with some chili powder if you like your food hot and spicy.

Sautéed Asparagus Glazed with Soy Sauce
This is one of those family movie night snacks where four people can cozy up and enjoy a film while nibbling on healthy tidbits. Gather,
  • Asparagus, 1 bunch
  • Butter, 1 tbsp.
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp.
Procedure
Clean the asparagus, cut off the tips and bases, and then cut them into bite-sized 3" pieces. Heat the butter until almost smoking and then stir fry the asparagus bits in it for 1½ minutes. Now blend soy sauce with 4 tablespoons of water, and pour it onto the cooking asparagus. Stir continuously until asparagus is wholly cooked and is crunchy on biting. See to it that all the fluid has dissipated, leaving only a traces of it on the green shoots. Add some salt if you like.

Sautéed Asparagus and Mushrooms and Cheese
A fantastic dish that should ideally be served chilled. For a family of four, you will need,
  • Asparagus, 1 lb.
  • Mushrooms, ½ lb. (cut lengthwise)
  • Scallion, ¼ cup (finely sliced)
  • Parmesan cheese, 3 oz. (shredded)
  • Mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup (grated)
  • Olive oil, 2 tbsp.
  • Thyme, 1 tsp.
  • Lemon rind, 1 tsp.
  • Salt, ½ tsp.
  • Pepper, ¼ tsp.
Procedure
Clean and cut asparagus into 1" diagonal pieces, after removing the tips and bases, of course. Stir fry the scallions, along with some garlic cloves if you like, in olive oil over a medium flame, and then throw in the asparagus, mushrooms, dried thyme herb, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté occasionally for at least 5 to 7 minutes. Mizzle lemon rind from the top along with the cheese before removing from flame.

Sautéed Asparagus with Bacon
For this asparagus delight, you must have on the counter,
  • Asparagus, 1 lb.
  • Bacon, 4 slices (sliced up into tiny pieces)
  • Olive oil
  • Fleur de sel, to taste
Procedure
Wash the asparagus really well, and then just remove the hard bases of it. Remember that you must not further cut the asparagus; you must keep each stalk intact and whole, sans the base. Now, take a large pan in which the whole stalk can be accommodated, and heat olive oil in it. Fry the bacon pieces in this for 5 to 6 minutes, and once they expel most of their fat, throw in the asparagus. Toss the two ingredients together to commingle well. Remember, all the tips of the stalks must point at only one direction. Cook on medium flame for another 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the stalks take on a brownish tinge, remove the pan from the flame, and serve immediately. You may serve some dip with it if you wish.

Sautéed Asparagus with Dijon Vinaigrette
Now this is the wackiest thing that I have tried with asparagus. Again for a family of four, you have to gather,
  • Asparagus, 1 lb. (thin variety, base removed and cut into 3" bits)
  • Sherry or red-wine vinegar, 2 tbsp.
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp.
  • Dijon mustard, 2 tsp.
  • Fleur de sel Pepper, to taste
Procedure
First you need to make the dressing by blending together the Dijon mustard with a tablespoon of olive oil and vinegar. Mizzle salt and pepper from the top, beat the condiment to mix well, and keep it aside. Now, heat the rest of the oil and fry the asparagus bits while seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook for a maximum of 12 minutes on a low-medium flame. Sauté occasionally. Once the asparagus is cooked, place it into a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the fried asparagus, and toss until all the pieces are well coated. Serve hot on 4 individual plates, garnished with a boiled egg, halved lengthwise.

Knowing how to prepare asparagus snacks can save you a lot of time in case of sudden visitors. None of these recipes will take up more than 20 minutes of your time in the kitchen. Try them out as they are quite tasty, at least tasty enough to see you kids gulp down these green veggies without a single whine.