In Season: Asparagus

Kim Conte

asparagusHow do you know it's spring? Because the produce section is stocked to the gills with fresh asparagus.

When looking for new ways to cook this tasty green veggie, I not only found this delicious and easy recipe for steaming asparagus in the microwave, but also a little-known fact about its flavor: I always thought thinner spears were tastier and more tender. But it's the thicker stalks that have better taste and texture—you just have to peel them! Who knew?



Asparagus now...

Ususally, I bake fresh asparagus in the oven (sometimes with pieces of Swiss cheese melted over top). But I'm always on the search for new, creative ways to cook this veggie. According to Saveur Magazine, microwaving asparagus in a tightly covered dish is a quick and easy way to preserve its texture, flavor, and bright green color. I think this asparagus and orange dish looks fantastic, don't you?

Asparagus With Citrus and Oregano from

2 oranges

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 scallions, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound (16 stalks) green asparagus

Zest 1 orange and set aside. Cut each orange into segments (I like to use a sharp knife to cut away both the peel and the white pith from the fruit. Then, holding the peeled fruit in the palm of my hand, I cut on each side of the membrane to free each segment.) Set aside segments.

To make dressing: Squeeze the leftover pulp of both segmented oranges to extract any remaining juice into small bowl. Whisk in 4 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, oregano, scallions, salt and pepper. Set dressing aside.

Cut off 1 inch from tough end of asparagus and put in 9 x 13 microwavable baking dish. Sprinkle asparagus with orange zest, remaining oil, and 1/4 cup water. Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high heat for 2 minutes. Uncover and drain off excess cooking liquid. Toss with dressing and orange segments.


Asparagus later...

Asparagus can be frozen for 8-9 months, so stock up now while the pickings are good! Blanch asparagus before freezing by first submerging in boiling water (2 minutes for thin spears; 3 minutes for medium; and 5 for thick), and then transferring to an ice bath for 5 minutes. Drain and dry, then pack into freezer bags or containers with the air pressed out. Be sure NOT to defrost frozen asparagus before cooking; keep it frozen until you are ready to cook.


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