Be sure to wash asparagus thoroughly before using, to remove any sand or grit.
Asparagus spears can be dry and tough at the bottom. To trim the spears, use a sharp knife to slice off an inch from the bottom. Alternatively, you can bend the bottom part of a spear until the woody part snaps off. If the stalk seems tough or woody, you can peel the end with a vegetable peeler.
Asparagus can be sliced into 1-inch pieces for a stir-fry, chopped into small pieces for pasta, or just left whole. Another option is to slice asparagus into paper-thin pieces, using a vegetable peeler or mandolin; a delicious addition to salads.
1 pound of asparagus = 16 to 20 spears, approximately 2 cups chopped
You can cook asparagus by steaming, boiling, microwaving, oven roasting, or stir-frying:
How to Boil: Bring water to boil in a skillet or saucepan. Carefully add asparagus to pan and continue to boil uncovered for 5 to 7 minutes.
How to Microwave: Place 1 lb. washed asparagus spears in a microwave-safe dish. Add 2 tbsp. water and cover. Cook at HIGH for 4 to 6 minutes, rearranging spears once so bottom spears are moved to top until tender crisp. Keep covered until ready to serve.
How to Steam: Lay asparagus in a steamer basket and place over boiling water in a saucepan. Cover and steam for 5 to 7 minutes, until asparagus is tender-crisp.
How to Stir-fry: Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces and cook in skillet or wok, using 1 to 2 tbsp. of butter or oil, for 5 to 7 minutes.
How to Roast: Arrange 1 or 2 lbs. of asparagus spears in a single layer in a large shallow baking dish. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tbsp. vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, at 425 °F (218 °C) for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender but still slightly firm. Use the same method on the BBQ using a piece of aluminum foil to cover the grates.