It’s Food Friday, and today I’d like to share with you the wonders of one of my favorite summer veggies: asparagus.
When I was little, I remember eating this stuff by the can! They were so delicious. I would gobble them up like they were candy, and yes, I would eat the whole can by myself. Later on, I guess I had forgotten how much I loved them, and so when I was a young 20-something, I no longer bought them. Of course, this was also the time of my life when I was beholden to no diet rules and I subsisted on mostly fast food.
Now, as someone older and wiser (haha), I am discovering more amazing and tasty vegetables than just the standard lettuce, tomato, and cucumber. I also rediscovered asparagus-fresh, crispy asparagus. I had no idea what to do with it, so I usually would just steam it in the microwave and sprinkle on a generous amount of lemon pepper. Later, I discovered the amazingness of grilled asparagus! SOOOOOO delicious. I would drizzle a little olive oil on the bunch and throw it on, turning the stalks until they were tender crisp. Then, I would drizzle this wonderful bleu cheese vinaigrette over them, and then the feast would begin, and we would fight to the last stalk!
What I didn’t know as I was eating these delectable little spears is how healthy they are! I had no idea that asparagus had so many health benefits. I’m realizing that this is true of most whole fruits and veggies, but sometimes, it is still a shocker that so many of us aren’t developing our full potential because we aren’t eating nature’s bounty.
Did you know that asparagus is not only loaded with fiber, but also has folate, and vitamins A, C, E, and K? It also contains a detoxifying compound that breaks down carcinogens and free radicals, so it’s possible it can help prevent several types of cancers. And, amazingly enough, it is like a little fountain of youth for our brains! That’s right, eating veggies like aspargus and other leafy greens can help prevent cognitive decline because of the folate. Asparagus also has high amounts of the amino acid asparagine, which acts as a natural diuretic and flushes extra salt from the body.
Amazing what a nutritional punch these little spears of goodness serve up in every bite! And another thing I love about them, they aren’t just a side dish. They are also amazingly versatile! You can grill them, steam them, use them in a stir fry, scramble them with eggs, whatever! I plan on getting some on my next trip to the store, chopping them up and freezing them to add to my next egg scramble. We had asparagus last night that I cooked up in the grill pan, and then added a little lemon juice and parmesan. Yummy!
There are tons of asparagus recipes out there, but one of the simplest ways is to just trim the ends, put it in a baking dish with a little water, cover, and microwave for about 4-5 minutes. Then, all you have to do is season them with whatever you like! My go-to’s are usually lemon or garlic, but I’ve also used sesame oil and sprinkled sesame seeds on top.
Word to the wise: the thicker asparagus stalks are tougher, so stick to the thinner ones.
Lemon Parmesan Asparagus
1 bunch asparagus
2 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 TB parmesan
2 TB or more lemon juice
Wash and trim asparagus, drizzle olive oil over stalks. Saute in pan till tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Toss with salt and pepper, and transfer to plate. Drizzle lemon juice over stalks, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy.
I apologize if my cooking intructions seem a little on the light side. This isn’t an actual recipe per se, this is just how I made the asparagus last night. I used half a lemon for the juice, but the other measurements are approximate.
Have a great weekend!