The abundance of these tall slender stalks at the local market is a sure sign of the imminent spring, even if there’s still snow on the ground. Asparagus is available year-round, however, spring is the best time to enjoy fresh asparagus.
It’s hard to believe there was a time I would pass this vegetable up because I didn’t know how to cook it and was afraid to try. That all changed when, years ago, I found a very easy recipe from Joie de Vivre: Simple French Style for Everyday Living, which proved to be an all-time favorite! Now, we frequently enjoy this delicious vegetable. Green asparagus spears range from pencil thin to almost an inch thick. I personally like the average, slightly thicker ones as I find they taste sweeter, don’t easily overcook and are not as woody and tough as the very thick ones.
Asparagus is loaded with nutrients. It is an excellent source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E, K and trace minerals copper, zinc, selenium, chromium to name a few. As well as anti-oxidants which help slow the aging process and protect against certain forms of cancer. It also contains high levels of asparagine, an amino acid that is a natural diuretic, which helps the body release excess fluid and salt. To retain most of these nutrients, asparagus should ideally be slightly crisp, not soggy or overcooked.
1 bunch of fresh asparagus (about 1 lb.)
Olive oil, enough to nicely coat the asparagus
1 clove garlic, crushed or thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Wash the asparagus and remove the tough ends, but do not peel.
- Mix the olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the raw asparagus and marinate for about 2 hours.
- Pour the asparagus and its marinade onto a sheet pan large enough to hold all the asparagus in one layer.
- Cook in oven for about 20 minutes or until asparagus is tender.
- Squeeze lemon juice over asparagus before serving.