March 15, 2007
Celebrate St Patty's Day with Something Green...Asparagus!
When spring weather is just right, an asparagus stalk can grow as much as 10 inches a day. Even more impressive is what it can do for your diet. Asparagus is low in calories (about 5 calories a stalk) and is packed with vitamins A, C and E. Just a half-cup serving of asparagus delivers a third of the recommended daily intake of folate.
When shopping for asparagus, look for firm stalks with tight tips. Fresh asparagus should snap when bent. Though best eaten the day purchased, asparagus can be refrigerated, wrapped in a damp cloth inside a plastic bag, for three days.
Opinion is divided, but many people believe large stalks are sweeter and juicer than thin ones. White asparagus tends to be less flavorful. Purple asparagus will have a fruity flavor.
Peeling tough-skinned stalks with a vegetable peeler will help ensure that the tips and stalks cook at the same rate. And be sure to rinse all asparagus thoroughly before cooking to remove any lingering sand.
For an even simpler preparation, try microwaving a pound of asparagus with a few tablespoons of water in a covered glass dish for about 3 minutes, or until tender.
To roast asparagus, place the stalks on a baking sheet, drizzle with a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, and roast at 500 F for 10 minutes, or until wilted and browned in spots.
Asparagus Braised with Fresh Rosemary and Bay Leaves
(Start to finish: 15 minutes)
• 2 lbs. fresh green or white asparagus, bottoms trimmed, peeled if tough
• 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 t. coarse sea salt
• 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
• 3 bay leaves, preferably fresh
In a skillet large enough to hold the asparagus in a single layer, combine the asparagus, oil, salt, rosemary and bay leaves. Sprinkle with 3 T. of cold water. Cover and cook over high heat just until the oil and water mixture begins to sizzle.
Reduce heat to medium and braise the asparagus, covered, turning from time to time, until the asparagus begins to brown in spots, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cooking time will vary based on the thickness of the asparagus. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 68 calories, 4 g total fat, 3 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 594 mg sodium
Posted by Lisa at March 15, 2007 7:37 AM
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