One of the recipes I get asked about often is my sauteed asparagus. This is one of those easy recipes that looks fantastic on a plate and tastes even better, especially when asparagus is at its peak. If you are wondering asparagus is generally a spring vegetable. It is in season from around April to June.
Which, by the way, eating vegetables in season is one of the ways you can eat natural (or organically) on a budget. If you purchase vegetables in season you will get a much better (read: tastier) product as well as a cheaper price (since they are more readily available). To read more about when vegetables are in season, read the post HERE. By the way, asparagus is one of those items you can purchase conventionally (not organically) because they are considered “clean.” In other words they don’t have the pesticides that many other fruits and veggies do. So, save your money here and use that money to purchase something else on the “dirty dozen” list.
Asparagus is by far one of my favorite green vegetables and cooking it this way makes it a favorite of everyone at my house. I always look forward to the short months that it is in season and we eat it at least once (if not twice a week) during these months. Another bonus: it is super easy to make and doesn’t take a lot of prep or extra ingredients to make it delicious!
a bunch of asparagus*
a can (or homemade equivalent) of chicken stock
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
First wash your asparagus and place on a cutting board. Bend the asparagus until they snap. This is how you find the natural place to “cut” the asparagus so that you are left with the yummy part of the veggie to saute. Don’t throw the end away! Put them all in a freezer bag and save for round 2 – home made asparagus soup! Mmmm.
Once all the ends have been snapped place a small amount of olive oil in your saute pan (enough to drizzle the bottom of your saute pan). Heat the pan on medium and add the asparagus. Meanwhile finely chop your garlic. Turn the asparagus in the pan to “brown” them evenly. Once the asparagus gets a little color add the garlic. (The reason for waiting is the garlic will burn quickly and turn bitter. You want to give your asparagus ample time to saute and once you add the garlic you only have a few more minutes before you need to add a liquid to keep the garlic from burning). Just before the garlic burns add in a little chicken stock (enough to keep the asparagus/garlic from sticking. When the chicken stock begins to evaporate add a little more. Continue to add a small amount of chicken stock to the pan until the asparagus is tender enough for your liking. It takes about 3/4 of a can at my house. We like them pretty tender.
Once the liquid is all evaporated it is time to gobble these little guys up! They are so delicious with the garlicy goodness!
Side note: I used to add the whole can of chicken stock at once, and while the asparagus are still delicious this way, I have found that they are even better when you add a small amount at a time. I think this is due to the fact that the asparagus tend to “boil” in the chicken stock when you add a whole bunch at once. By adding only a little they continue to saute and drink in the goodness!
*Choose asparagus that has tight heads and the skinnier the better! Small, thin asparagus = tender and delicious! If you purchase your asparagus one day and don’t plan to cook it for a couple more days, store it in the fridge in cup with a small amount of water in the cup. You should store them kind of like flowers in a vase – but in the refrigerator! This will keep them fresh for up to a week (depending on the freshness of your asparagus).