The local supermarkets in my neighborhood all have specials on fresh asparagus. The fresh organic shoots are harvested once every two years. Otherwise the plants are left to regenerate, grow to maturity, flower, and re-seed themselves. So asparagus farmers rotate their crops to ensure perfection for your plate and palate every year.
The joys of asparagus were well known by Egyptians, Greeks and Romans in ancient times. Apicius wrote about its delights, even pickled, in 300 AD. It’s also a diuretic, and you’ll notice a slightly sweet odor when urinating after ingesting. All good: It’s like seeing red after eating beets.
Now, how to pick out a great bunch: You generally want to see them resting in the store with their stems in some water so they don’t dry out. Remember, these are still baby plant shoots – “living” foods that need water, just as we do. If the stems are yellowish or slightly shriveled, they’ll be old, dead and nasty, so make sure they’re all bright green and crispy, not flaccid if you try to bend them.
The best way to enjoy fresh asparagus is raw: Roughly chopped and simply marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, perhaps a dash of apple cider vinegar, Celtic sea salt and cayenne pepper. Awesomely crunchy and filled with fiber, Vitamin B’s, antioxidants such as A, C, E, K, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, niacin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, copper, selenium and with all precious enzymes intact.
Remember, eating Raw veggies is healthy for you AND for the Planet (saves fossil fuels at the stove).
The next best option is to have them lightly steamed, but please, never boiled. Invest in a $5 steamer basket that will fit in most pots. Put an inch of water in the bottom to boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and gently steam your elevated asparagus for 3-5 minutes without leaching most of their nutrients and enzymes into the water. If you want to, you can then dump them into an ice bath (bowl of ice water) to stop the cooking process and keep them crisp.
There are some “grill-masters” that insist the best asparagus flavor comes alive when you slightly toss in olive oil, smoke and caramelize their inherent sugars.
Me, I like it RAW, and the secret is my dressings:
My number one choice is to serve raw asparagus as crudite with hummus. Then you’re also getting an ample supply of protein and those all-important omega 3’s from the sesame seeds. Great as a mid-afternoon snack or appetizer.
Next choice would be a country Dijon mustard vinagrette:
2 T. Country Dijon Mustard (has the yummy, chunky mustard seeds)
2 T. red wine or balsamic Vinegar
1/4 C. organic cold pressed olive oil
1 tsp. dried Italian Seasoning
Celtic salt & Cayenne pepper to taste
Pour over lightly steamed asparagus.
Next we have my RAW vegan, cholesterol-free, non-dairy Hollandaise:
Combine in blender with “Ice-crush” capacity:
1/2 C. Cashews, soaked 2-4 hours, drained & rinsed
1 Lemon, peeled & quartered
1 T. Nutritional Yeast
3 T. cold pressed organic olive oil
Celtic Sea Salt or dash of Braggs Liquid Aminos to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
Spread lavishly over raw or lightly steamed asparagus.
(Store any left-over and blend with fresh red bell pepper as an amazing dressing for salads)
You can also chop and incorporate our beautiful Asparagus into many creamy risotto and cheesy pasta dishes, or a simple Asian stir-fry.
Coming soon at a local farmer near you!
Experiment & enjoy.
By Eco–Chef Debra Secunda of www.rawfooddvds.com