How to Cook or Steam Fresh Asparagus

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Asparagus is sold in bunches of about 15 to 20 spears.
Asparagus is sold in bunches of about 15 to 20 spears. (Image: Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Asparagus is a vegetable that appreciates simple preparation. Quickly steaming asparagus spears gives you the perfect tender-crunchy texture. However, there are other methods that produce great asparagus. Be vigilant when cooking asparagus. The tips can turn mushy in a matter of seconds, so test them with a fork every so often. When making asparagus, allow for about four to six stalks per person. Season asparagus lightly with salt and pepper, butter, olive oil, or lemon juice, if you wish.

Things You'll Need

  • Asparagus spears
  • Knife
  • Water
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Steaming

Rinse the asparagus under cold running water and cut off the bottom 1/3 of each spear.

Place asparagus in a microwave-safe dish with a few tablespoons of water. Microwave on high for two to three minutes, depending on how soft or crunchy you like your asparagus.

Fill a skillet with 1/2 inch of water to steam asparagus on the stove. Bring the water to a boil, then add the asparagus. Cook for two to three minutes, until the asparagus reaches your desired texture.

Sauteing

Rinse the asparagus under cold running water and cut off the bottom 1/3 of each spear. If you like, you can cut the spears into smaller pieces for faster sauteing.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Add the spears to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have softened and turned bright green, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Roasting

Rinse the asparagus under cold running water and cut off the bottom 1/3 of each spear. Toss the spears with a few tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Spread the spears onto a baking sheet in a single layer.

Roast the asparagus in an oven preheated to 400 F for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how many spears you are cooking. Test the spears periodically with a fork to prevent overcooking.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can serve asparagus cold, as well. Once the spears have finished steaming, transfer them to a bowl full of ice water. Drizzle the cold asparagus with vinaigrette before serving.

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