Asparagus spears are the young, edible shoots of the asparagus plant, a member of the lily family.
These succulent stalks, usually green but also found in purple varieties, are harvested before they mature and harden.
Prized for their delicate flavour and tender texture, asparagus spears boast a nutritional punch packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibre.
They are a versatile ingredient, enjoyed roasted, grilled, steamed, or even raw, adding a touch of elegance to any dish.
So, whether you’re a seasoned chef or just starting to explore the world of vegetables, asparagus spears are a delightful and nutritious addition to your culinary repertoire.
The Ultimate Guide to Asparagus Spears
Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, our guide to asparagus spears will provide you with all the information you need to make the most of this tasty vegetable.
What is a spear of asparagus?
A spear of asparagus is the edible shoot or stem of the asparagus plant.
Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that is harvested in the spring and early summer.
The spears can range in colour from green to white to purple, depending on the variety.
Asparagus is a versatile vegetable that can be cooked in a variety of ways, including blanching, roasting, grilling, steaming, and sautéing.
It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, folate, and potassium.
Asparagus is a genus of plants in the family Asparagaceae, which includes over 300 species.
The most commonly cultivated species for food is Asparagus officinalis, which is native to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia.
Asparagus plants can grow up to 6 feet tall and have feathery foliage.
The edible part of the plant is the young shoot or spear, which emerges from the ground in the spring.
Asparagus is a popular vegetable around the world and is enjoyed for its unique flavour and nutritional benefits.
Health Benefits of Asparagus
Asparagus is a highly nutritious vegetable that is low in calories and high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
It is a good source of folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin A, as well as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Eating asparagus may help improve digestion, support healthy weight management, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
How to choose the best asparagus spears.
When selecting asparagus spears, look for bright green stalks that are firm and straight.
Avoid any that are wilted, slimy, or have a strong odor.
The tips should be tightly closed and compact, without any signs of flowering.
Thicker spears are generally more tender and flavourful, while thinner ones are more fibrous.
However, it ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Flavour pairings for asparagus.
Asparagus has a unique flavour that pairs well with a variety of other foods.
Some popular flavour pairings for asparagus include lemon, garlic, butter, Parmesan cheese, and prosciutto.
Asparagus also pairs well with other spring vegetables like peas, fava beans, and artichokes.
When cooking with asparagus, it’s important to balance its flavour with other ingredients to create a delicious and well-rounded dish.
10 Creative ways to use asparagus in recipes.
Asparagus is a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of recipes.
Asparagus spears are a healthy and delicious addition to any meal.
For example it can simply be added to pasta dishes, salads, and stir-fries for a pop of colour and flavour.
Get inspired with these 10 creative recipes that showcase the versatility of this vegetable.
- Asparagus Soup;
Creamy asparagus soup is perfect for an Appetiser or light lunch.
Any older and slightly less tender shoots can be used..
Make a delicious and revitalizing asparagus soup that’s sure to tantalise your taste buds.
Try this flavourful asparagus soup recipe today!
- Asparagus Rolls;
Asparagus Rolls are perfect for an Appetiser or light lunch and are a perfect finger-food at parties.
Make some delicious and refreshing asparagus rolls that are sure to fascinate your taste buds.
Try this tasty asparagus rolls recipe today!
- Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart;
This savoury tart is perfect for a brunch or light lunch.
Simply layer cooked asparagus spears on top of a puff pastry crust, sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese, and bake until golden brown.
- Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto;
Asparagus adds a fresh and vibrant flavour to this classic Italian dish.
Sauté sliced mushrooms and asparagus in butter and garlic, then stir in Arborio rice and chicken broth until creamy and tender.
- Grilled Asparagus Salad;
Grilling asparagus brings out its natural sweetness and adds a smoky flavour to this refreshing salad.
Toss grilled asparagus with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and a lemon vinaigrette for a light and healthy meal.
- Asparagus and Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken;
This elegant dish is perfect for a dinner party or special occasion.
Wrap chicken breasts with prosciutto and asparagus spears, then bake until tender and juicy.
- Asparagus and Feta Stuffed Chicken;
For a twist on traditional stuffed chicken, mix cooked asparagus with crumbled feta cheese and stuff inside chicken breasts.
Bake until golden brown and serve with a side of roasted potatoes.
- Asparagus and Parmesan Frittata;
This easy and versatile dish can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Whisk together eggs, cooked asparagus, grated Parmesan cheese, and herbs, then bake until fluffy and golden brown.
- Asparagus and Bacon Quiche;
This rich and indulgent quiche is perfect for a weekend brunch or lazy Sunday morning.
Layer cooked asparagus and crispy bacon in a buttery pie crust, then pour in a mixture of eggs, cream, and cheese. Bake until golden brown and serve warm.
« Cooking Definitions "These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."
Before preparing asparagus, it is important to wash it thoroughly.
Rinse the asparagus under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris.
Asparagus has a tough, woody end that is not edible.
To remove it, hold the asparagus spear at both ends and bend it until it snaps.
The point where it snaps is where the woody end begins.
Discard the woody ends.
If the asparagus is thick, it may be a good idea to peel it.
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough outer layer of the asparagus.
This will make it more tender and easier to eat.
How To Steam Asparagus
This is a very tall narrow pot with about an inch of boiling water in the bottom.
The asparagus is tied in a bundle and stood upright in the steamer for about five minutes so that the toughest end gets the most cooking and the tips are just barely steamed.
How To Cook Asparagus In A Pan
How To Roast Asparagus
Roasted asparagus is tender, slightly browned and crisp on the ends, and addictingly snack-worthy.
Toss gently with your hands until all of the asparagus is coated.
This should take 15-20 minutes.
How To Grill Asparagus On The BBQ
Grilled asparagus is smoky, tender, and delicious with a bit of caramelized char. Yum!
Toss gently with your hands until all of the asparagus is coated.
Cook for 2-3 more minutes, turning once or twice more, until the asparagus is tender and charred in spots.
How To Blanch Asparagus
Blanched asparagus is crisp-tender and perfect for adding to salads or marinating for a delicious appetizer.
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 110Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 661mgCarbohydrates: 21gFibre: 10gSugar: 7gProtein: 12g
"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."