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What Is Sauteed Asparagus?

Article Details
  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Sauteed asparagus is a delicious vegetable dish that can be made with many different herbs, spices, and other ingredients. One of the keys to great sauteed asparagus is choosing the freshest, most flavorful asparagus, and storing it correctly until it is needed. Depending on the thickness of the asparagus, it may be necessary to pre-cook it before it is sauteed. There are many different recipes for sauteed asparagus, allowing the basic requirements of this preparation to be augmented in order to suit individual taste.

Getting the right type of asparagus is crucial to creating a good-tasting finished product. Shop for the vegetables when they are in season, usually during the spring season, and cook them within a few days of purchasing. Asparagus is available in thick and thin stalks, but will often start to lose its delicate flavor in larger sizes. If stalks have started to turn purple or sprout at the ends, they may need to be peeled before cooking. To store asparagus, place head-up in a jar with an inch of water at the bottom, and keep at room temperature.

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Preparing the asparagus for sauteing is also an important step. Since the end of most stalks will be slightly tough, they should be snapped off before cooking. Stalks should be washed carefully or allowed to soak in warm water for a few minutes to remove dirt. With thick asparagus, plunge the stalks into boiling water for a minute, then rapidly douse with cold water. Thin stalks can be sauteed without any pre-cooking, so long as they are fresh.

Cooking sauteed asparagus is a simple affair. Oil or butter is heated in a frying pan or wok until hot, then the stalks are added and cooked until tender. This basic recipe can allow a side dish or light lunch of asparagus to be prepared in about ten minutes, but can also be customized endlessly. One simple variation is to add garlic or shallots to the oil as it heats, which will infuse the dish with flavor. If cooked simply, sauteed asparagus can be served topped with salt and pepper, drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil, or with a simple aioli for dipping.

More complex recipes for sauteed asparagus contain various other ingredients and can help turn the basic dish into an entree. Asian vegetables, such as bok choy, water chestnuts, and snow peas can be added for a vegetarian feast. Pre-cooked meat, such as beef, pork, or chicken, can also be stirred in for a light, healthy main course. Spaghetti and marinara or pesto sauce can also be tossed with the sauteed asparagus for an Italian-inspired dish.

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