Poached asparagus

Poached asparagus

By
From
Real Food by Mike
Serves
4
Photographer
Alan Benson

Asparagus are such delicate vegetables that they can be easily overcooked. Here I present two cooking methods. One is for peeling them before you eat them hot, the other is for not peeling them in preparation for eating them hot or cold in salads. The great thing about an asparagus spear is that it tells you where it needs trimming. Take a spear and bend it and it will snap where the stem is dry.

Option 1

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 bunches asparagus, peeled
25g butter
1 tablespoon white wine
1/2 lemon, juiced

Method

  1. Break and trim the asparagus as discussed above.
  2. Peel the asparagus from the bottom of the spear all the way up the stem. Place the raw asparagus in a frying pan to allow them to sit flat and not bunched. Add the butter, wine, a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons water and cover with a piece of baking paper that fits the diameter of the pan. Bring quickly to the boil and simmer fast to evaporate the liquid, leaving the baking paper on top. During this time you should be swirling the pan in a circular motion to keep the asparagus moving. After 1 minute, remove the paper and add the lemon juice. Simmer for 1 more minute so the butter forms a glaze. Eat the asparagus straight from the pan.

Option 2

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 bunches asparagus, unpeeled

Method

  1. Break and trim the asparagus as discussed above. Tie your bunch of asparagus together with kitchen twine.
  2. Fill a tall, heavy-based saucepan with hot water and a pinch of salt and bring it to the boil. Stand your asparagus in the hot, salty water so the water comes up three-quarters of the length of the asparagus – you want the spears to stick out at the top, so the bottom cooks through while the tops gently steam. Use jars or ramekins to help keep your asparagus upright. Cover and simmer for 1–2 minutes. Remove the asparagus and cut the string. Serve as they are or plunge them into iced water to stop them from cooking further.

Medicinal Benefit

  • Asparagus contains the anti-inflammatory vitamins A, B complex, C and E, regular consumption of which can help develop resistance against infections. Asparagus also contains an important trace mineral called chromium, which helps insulin regulate blood glucose levels. It’s also rich in glutathione, a detoxifying compound that’s been shown to destroy some carcinogens.
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