Here’s How to Actually Cook Asparagus

Here’s How to Actually Cook Asparagus

by Sue Jones
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As soon as you get back from the store, it’s chill time. But don’t just stuff that bunch in the fridge; you’ll retain max freshness and flavor by taking a few minutes to prep your spears for storage.

Start by removing the tough, woody ends at the bottom of the asparagus spears—they’re not something you want to eat. “Hold the asparagus stalk in the middle and the end and snap,” deBoschnek says. “The rough end will easily snap off, leaving you with a clean asparagus stalk.” You can also just cut off the thicker, woodier bottom couple inches of the stalk (the parts that aren’t green) with a sharp knife.

From there, place the bunch in a jar filled with about an inch of cold water, just like you would with flowers, Pradhan says. Loosely cover the bunch with a plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator, where it should stay fresh for up to five days.

One thing you definitely don’t want to do is wash asparagus before storing it—the added moisture will cause the spears to get slimy. When you’re ready to cook, just give them a quick rinse under cool running water and pat them dry with a kitchen towel, as Pradhan recommends.

What is the best way to eat asparagus?

Just like a sunny spring day, asparagus is pretty easygoing. As long as you have the basic cooking techniques down, it’ll pretty much taste good no matter how you make it.

“The joy of asparagus is that it can easily be made using almost any cooking technique: blanching, roasting, grilled, raw, seared, or even fried,” deBoschnek says. So the best way to make it is all about what you enjoy the most, in terms of flavor and texture.

If considering all of those culinary possibilities at once feels a little overwhelming, try sautéing it first. This popular method is easy and quick—and it enhances the veggie’s natural deliciousness to the point where you might end up devouring the entire pan in one go, according to Ramos.

Got a little more time on your hands? Try baked asparagus or roasted asparagus, which concentrates the veggie’s inherent sweetness. Gwynn Galvin, a Montvale, New Jersey–based professional recipe developer and food stylist, tells SELF that her own basic oven-roasting method has proved to be “foolproof.” (More on what that looks like in a minute.)

How do you cook raw asparagus?

Again, there are so many great ways to cook asparagus. But generally speaking, once you have your washed and trimmed spears ready to go, it takes just a few minutes, a couple of simple ingredients, and, of course, a heat source to take your asparagus from raw to beautifully cooked.

Let’s begin with how to sauté asparagus. Ramos starts by slicing asparagus spears in one-inch pieces heating a splash of olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Next, you add the asparagus pieces to the hot pan and sprinkle with about a teaspoon of salt per pound of asparagus. “Toss for two to three minutes until the skin is bright green and there’s still some bite to it,” Ramos says. You don’t want to sauté them for so long they lose all their firmness. (More on that below!)

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