Have you ever wondered how restaurants make perfectly cooked asparagus? While your asparagus comes out dull and mooshy? Over cooked asparagus is a thing of the past. There is a misconception about asparagus being fancy but they really are quite simple to prepare in order to maintain color and flavor. As a curious foodie, I went digging around to find out techniques that would help me make restaurant quality asparagus. The process seems like way more trouble then it is….I promise…..I hope.
A couple of months ago I reviewed a quaint little American fare restaurant and absolutely fell in love with my dish. I had stuffed tilapia with a side of herb fingerling potatoes and perfectly cooked Parmesan asparagus. Such a simple concept that can only be executed if it’s done just right. Soooooo of course, the very next day I was at the farmers market on the hunt for seasoned asparagus. You can find it at any grocery store which makes it a convenient side dish. Contrary to popular belief, bigger asparagus is NOT better. They are more modified and rushed to grow so they lack a lot of flavor. The super skinny ones are not the way to go either. They shouldn’t be flimsy, but not bulky either. This is a quick little side dish that can be paired with a sophisticated meal or a quick weekday meal.
- 1 bundle of asparagus
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese (grated or shredded)
1.) First of all you need to cut about 1/2 an inch off the bottom of your asparagus. If you look at the bottoms, you will see they are pretty dirty. Usually the whiter parts of the bottoms are tough and need to go.
2.) In a large skillet over high heat, add about an inch of water and let come to a boil. Drop your asparagus in the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Let them cook for about 4-5 minutes and while they cook, prepare an ice bath. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice and let sit aside until your asparagus has finished cooking.
3.) Once the asparagus has cooked, remove all of them and drop them into the ice bath. This “shocks” the vegetable an stops the cooking process and makes them crisp. This is the simple little trick! Let them sit for 30 seconds or so and remove them and lay them out on a paper towel to get rid of some water. In the meantime, heat a medium skillet with your butter.
4.) Place your asparagus in the skillet and sautee for 3 minutes. They should still be pretty firm but cooked just right. Toss in your Parmesan cheese until its semi melted and transfer to serving dish. Garnish with a little more Parmesan and SERVE RIGHT AWAY