Asparagus

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Asparagus comes in green and white. White has either been covered while growing to keep the sun out, or (if canned) bleached to remove the color. Our vote: GO GREEN.

Green asparagus has some protein, a trace of fat, but no starch. It is a good source of vitamin A, C and the B vitamins including folic acid. One 3.5 oz serving of asparagus provides 50% of Vitamin C, 17% of Vitamin A, as well as riboflavin, thiamin, and niacin, potassium and iron needed in a day.

Things to consider:
Fresh is best (canned makes the asparagus soft and can be high in sodium). Look for bright green stalks, tips should be purplish and tightly closed. Avoid wilted stalks and those with opened tips. Snap off ends – they should break where the green meets the white. Fat or thin is a personal preference. If choosing fat the stalks can be woody and should be peeled.

Ways to cook:
Steaming or blanching (quick boil) on the stove, cook to just tender or the water and asparagus will go brown.

Grilled Asparagus –Seems simple, but has a multitude of uses.

  • Take the asparagus, the thicker it is the juicier the flavor. First, cut the bottoms off. Asparagus dries quickly, so chop off the part that looks more white and less green, or snap off the bottom, but you will be wasting some good green. Optional – you may peel 1/3 – 2/3 up from the bottom. If thin stems, don’t bother.
  • Your choice – either blanch (lightly cook) in one inch of salted boiling water in a pan on the stove, or roast for 10-25 minutes – depending on the thickness – in a 400-degree oven. If roasting, sprinkle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, then salt and pepper. For even more flavor, add fresh rosemary or sesame seeds!
  • Enjoy asparagus just grilled – or:
    • Dress the up with chopped tomatoes
    • Add vinaigrette dressing and serve at room temperature
    • Serve with a dip of light mayonnaise, lemon juice and toasted sesame seeds
    • Chop into bite-sixed pieces and add to pasta
    • Wrap in smoked salmon, prosciutto as a hors d’oeuvres
    • Wrap in turkey or ham slices as an after-school snack
    • Add to already made soups to freshen the taste.

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