Saturday Spotlight: Asparagus!
Sprightly bunches of new spring veggies are starting to bloom in your local produce section and farmer's market, prompting fresh veggie-holics to rejoice! One particular veggie that signals "spring!" for many of us is asparagus. Delicious, versatile, and easy to prepare, fresh asparagus has grown to such immense popularity that most grocers keep it in stock year-round. The freshest, most local varieties, however, begin selling in springtime...hence the popularity in Passover and Easter dishes.
Asparagus is an excellent source of folic acid, potassium, thiamin, fiber, and vitamins A, B6, and C. It is fat- and cholesterol-free and low in sodium. Fresh asparagus can be boiled or steamed and added to pasta dishes, omelets, risottos, salads and pilafs. To get the best bang for your buck, purchase asparagus for use within a day or two. Buy stalks that have tightly closed tips and roughly the same diameter so that they cook uniformly. To prepare, break off woody, fibrous ends of stalks. If asparagus will be cut, it's easier to do before cooking. Boil for 5-7 minutes or steam for 10-15 minutes for crisp-tender results.
While asparagus makes a healthy and delicious addition to many dishes, its distinct flavor and awesome nutrition profile make it a great choice on its own as a snack or side dish. Cut into 1-2 inch pieces, boil or steam until crisp-tender and enjoy! A squeeze of lemon and/or a sprinkling of salt takes the flavor to a whole new level. Bon appetit!