Asparagus, one of those sure signs that spring has arrived. Yes, spring has indeed sprung, and it is the season for all things asparagus—from risotto to salad—that delicious and tender green stalk belongs on your table. But we have some startling news—you may be cooking it wrong.
As we’ve recently reported, Southern Living’s South’s Best Chef, Vivian Howard, is taking to Instagram on Tuesdays to deliver some helpful kitchen advice. The video series called; Just the Tips debuts a new mini episode every Tuesday in Howard’s Instagram stories. This week she took to the Gram to let everyone know that one popular cooking method for asparagus is ruining what she refers to as “one of spring’s greatest gifts.”
“If you’re one of those people who takes whole stalks of asparagus and bakes it or roasts it in the oven, you’re doing the vegetable an injustice. The heat of the often is indirect. So, it cooks the asparagus slowly and asparagus are tender and delicate so they cannot take that slow abuse,” she pleaded.
Instead, she wants you to celebrate these “tender gifts of spring,” and suggests that for some, not cooking them at all is the best approach.
“Really skinny asparagus are very hard to blanch whole or pan-roast without overcooking, so slice them into coins and sever RAW in grain salads or barley warmed in an omelet.”
If you are going to cook them, Howard suggests that you grab a sauté pan and get it screaming hot. “Maybe even a little smoke,” she added. Howard said that asparagus prefer high, short-lived heat. Put your veggies in this very hot pan, don’t overcrowd, and cook for 30-45 seconds until they are brown on one side. Season and take off the heat. Or you can blanche them in boiling salted water but again, she is very clear that the spears should not be in this boiling bath for more than a minute.
WATCH: Vivian Howard – South’s Best Chef
“Pay attention to your asparagus. If you’re good to her, she’ll be good to you.”