Asparagus is a true delicacy that not only tastes fantastic, but is also incredibly healthy.
Whether classically cooked as a delicious side dish, crisp roasted, in a salad or as a soup, asparagus recipes really never get boring, so make sure you take full advantage of the short season. Here you can read what to look for when buying, how to peel the tender sticks properly and how to prepare it perfectly.
Plus, 2-Michelin-starred top chef Alexander Herrmann reveals his secret asparagus tips, while also dispelling rumors that circulate in many an amateur kitchen.
White or green: which type of asparagus is the healthiest?
There are white, green and purple asparagus. By the way, green asparagus is healthier than the white asparagus, because it contains more vitamins and minerals. Accordingly, the positive effect on the heart and circulation, as well as blood prere, proven in studies, is also greater. Low in calories and carbohydrates and fat-free, however, all asparagus varieties are equally so.
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The white asparagus is so "pale", because it contains no chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a natural plant pigment that gives vegetables and even fruits their green color. This is also why the green and purple asparagus tastes stronger, because the more colorants asparagus contains, the more flavorful it is. According to studies, the green asparagus also contains more healthy antioxidants.
The reason for the lack of plant pigments: While white asparagus grows underground and is immediately pricked when the head peeks out of the ground, green asparagus is allowed to grow in the air and sunlight. And that is why it is only possible for it to form chlorophyll.
By the way: Bitter asparagus is neither old, nor bad! Alexander Herrmann explains: "When the asparagus is still very young, it is cut relatively far down at the root, which means that the shorter the asparagus is, the closer it is cut to the root, the more bitter it will be."
How to recognize fresh asparagus?
The so-called "squeak test The asparagus peel gives you information about the freshness of the asparagus: Simply rub two stalks together – only if it squeaks, it can be put into the shopping basket. The heads should be closed and the spears should be firm, plump and as moist as possible. If the stalks are dry and woody at the bottom, then it is not worth the money (anymore).
Tip: Consume the asparagus as soon as possible after buying it. Until then, you can wrap the spears in a damp towel or kitchen roll and place them in the freshness box for fruits and vegetables (also called Crisp Zone) of your refrigerator.
How to peel asparagus?
Before you peel asparagus – whether white or green – you must first wash it thoroughly, as soil, sand& Co. Like to get stuck in the tender heads. After that, you can reach for the asparagus peeler. "Because peeling asparagus spears is often tricky, what matters is an easy-to-use and precise peeler", says TV chef Herrmann.
His recommendation: The small, smart multi-peeler from Fissler is perfect for quick and precise peeling – for both right-handed and left-handed users.
Also note these tips for peeling asparagus:
White asparagus: You have to peel completely (from top to bottom), because you can't eat the bitter, fibrous peel with it. Cap 1 to 2 inches from the bottom end, which is often woody and therefore also inedible.
Green asparagus: Unlike its white relative, you don't need to peel it completely because the peel is much thinner and can be eaten along with it. But cut off a good 1 to 2 cm from the end here as well. Remove the peel from the lower third of the asparagus spear.
How to prepare asparagus correctly?
Cooking asparagus is not difficult, all you need is salt and a pinch of sugar. You always add some lemon to the cooking water for flavor? This can be done, but Alexander Herrmann advises against it: "Be careful here, because lemon changes the taste of the asparagus permanently. The citrus note cooks deep into the fibers – so if the lemon zest is slightly bitter, that goes right over to the asparagus."
It's important not to overcook white asparagus, or it will just lie limp on your plate and look anything but appetizing.
And how much asparagus should you plan per person? You should calculate about 500 grams of fresh asparagus per person. Remember: After peeling, there are only about 350 grams left. For two people, it is best to buy and peel, for example, 1 kilo of white asparagus. With green asparagus, the 500-gram bundle is easily enough for 2 people as a side dish, because there is usually something in addition and you also have to cut away much less.
Here are 4 ways you can prepare asparagus:
1. Cook asparagus in a pot
Add 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon sugar to a large pot of boiling water. Meanwhile there are special asparagus pots with sieve insert, in which asparagus is cooked standing and very gently. "In this way, even the tender heads are neither crushed nor overcooked during preparation", knows the celebrity chef. Simply add the asparagus, bring to the boil again briefly, but then reduce the heat. When asparagus is overcooked, it is mainly the heads that suffer.
The cooking time depends on the type and thickness of the asparagus. Here is an overview:
– Green asparagus: 6 to 8 minutes – Thin green asparagus: 5 minutes – White asparagus grade I (thick spears): 10 to 15 minutes – White asparagus grade II (medium thick): 8 to 10 minutes
2. Asparagus can also be prepared in the oven
Simply put the desired amount of asparagus together with a little butter, salt and a pinch of sugar on a piece of aluminum foil, form a small package out of it and bake the asparagus in its own juice in the oven at 190 degrees top/bottom heat for about 25 to 30 minutes. You can of course add herbs.
3. Fry asparagus in the pan
You don't have to boil or bake green asparagus, you can saute it peeled right in a pan. "Frying asparagus creates subtle roasted flavors that go well with fish and meat as well as stir-fried dishes with pasta or potatoes.", so Herrmann. Or how about a crispy Asian dish from the wok, like our Teryaki Salmon with Asparagus?
4. Eat asparagus raw
Not only green, but also white asparagus can (theoretically) be eaten raw, because the seasonal vegetable is neither poisonous nor unpalatable uncooked. The thinner and more tender the sticks, the better the flavor.
Speaking of taste: You will largely have to do without the typical asparagus aroma if you eat it raw: the aspartic acid responsible for it is only formed by the heat during cooking.
Healthy asparagus recipes without hollandaise sauce
You now know how to recognize the best asparagus, how to peel and cook it properly. Perfect, then the best thing to do now is to get inspired by our fit asparagus recipes from the gallery. There are no limits to your creativity.
When eating asparagus, save unnecessary calories by avoiding heavy sauces or fatty meats, eat healthy "companions" instead to the crisp seasonal vegetable. In our gallery you will find 5 ingenious, easy recipes with green asparagus.
With crunchy green asparagus, you'll get plenty of protein: quick and easy, this dish is not only a delicious lunch or dinner, but also a great idea for a hearty brunch.
– 200 g green asparagus – 30 g peas – 1 tsp olive oil – 2 medium egg(s) – 1 tbsp milk – 1 dash mineral water – 1 tsp butter – 2 medium spring onion(s) – 1 pinch salt – 1 pinch pepper
Wash the asparagus, dry it and cut off the ends. Clean the spring onion. Cut into rings.
Boil the peas (preferably frozen) in a little salted water for a few minutes, then drain.
Heat olive oil in a frying pan and fry the asparagus on all sides over medium heat, season with salt and pepper. If you prefer your asparagus a little less crunchy, you can also cook it briefly with the peas for a few minutes and then saute. Remove from the pan. Set aside.
Meanwhile, whisk eggs optionally with milk and mineral water and season with salt and pepper. You can also omit the two extra ingredients, but this will make your omelet less fluffy.
Butter in a not too big, coated pan until the butter foams. Swirl the pan. Spread butter all over. Just before the butter turns brown, turn down the heat and let the egg mixture glide in. Swirl the pan back and forth so that the egg is evenly distributed. Using a spatula, carefully push the egg mixture into the center. Do not tear as with scrambled eggs, just distribute well. Then let mixture set so that it is lightly browned on the bottom and not quite cooked through on top. Preparation tips for the perfect omelet can be found here.
Place asparagus and peas on one side of the omelet, and using a silicone spatula (or spatula), loosen on all sides, lifting the pan and flipping the omelet. Top with spring onions, done.
– Calories (kcal): 358 – Fat: 25g – Protein: 22g – Carbohydrates: 13g
Everything about this salad tastes like summer: crisp green asparagus, sweet strawberries, spicy prosciutto, and a little feta. That's all it takes.
– 1 handful of salad mix (your choice) – 30 g peas – 100 g green asparagus – 5 medium strawberry(s) – 3 slice(s) prosciutto – 30 g feta – 2 tsp olive oil – 1 tsp white balsamic – 1 tsp. mustard – 1 pinch of salt – 1 pinch of pepper
Wash lettuce and drain or spin very well. Wash the asparagus, cut off the lower end if necessary and cut the spears into thirds. Wash strawberries, cut them in half and remove the stem base.
Boil peas (preferably frozen) in a little salted water for a few minutes, then drain them.
Heat half of the olive oil in a pan and fry the asparagus for a few minutes, season with salt and pepper. If you like, you can also add the peas to the pan for a short time and swirl them through.
For the dressing mix the remaining olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Put the lettuce in a bowl. Mix with the dressing. Arrange warm asparagus, peas, strawberries and prosciutto on top and crumble the feta over it.
– Calories (kcal): 449 – Fat: 29g – Protein: 24g – Carbohydrates: 22g
This vegetarian and protein-rich asparagus recipe is easy to prepare and low in calories
– 4 medium egg(s) – 1000 g white asparagus – 1 tsp salt – 1 pinch sugar – 1 tbsp butter – 1 tsp flour – 200 ml asparagus stock – 1 dash milk – 1 tsp parsley – 0.5 teaspoons of dill – 1 pinch of pepper – 1 pinch of salt
Cook eggs for 5-10 minutes depending on desired cooking point.
Meanwhile, peel asparagus, wash, and cook in a large pot with salt and sugar until tender (8-15 minutes, depending on thickness of spears). Then drain and start the asparagus water/stock for the dressing.
Then melt butter in a small pot. Then add flour. Mix quickly with a whisk. Then deglaze with the brew one sip at a time. Allow the roux to thicken. Add milk, season with salt and pepper, stir in herbs.
Chop the cooked eggs. Put asparagus on a plate, add sauce and top everything with eggs. Salmon provides healthy fatty acids. Achieves top values in protein content. Asparagus has a lot of vitamins and minerals in its luggage – an unbeatable combination
– 1 fillet(s) salmon – 1 clove garlic – 1 tbsp olive oil – 0.5 tsp honey – 0.5 tsp Dijon mustard – 250 g green asparagus – 1 pinch salt – 1 pinch pepper – 1 tsp parsley
Preheat oven to 200 C.
Press garlic and blend with olive oil, honey, a squeeze of lemon juice, and mustard to make a paste.
Place asparagus in a small baking dish. Place the salmon on top of or next to the vegetables and spread the paste on top, season with salt and pepper. Place 1-2 lemon slices in addition to salmon.
Bake in hot oven for 15-20 minutes.
Top with fresh chopped parsley at the end. This juicy steak with wild garlic topping convinces with a wonderfully fresh taste. Naturally a good portion of protein – an ideal summertime main dish after a hard workout. Alternatively, this recipe does just as well on the grill
– 300 g beef steak(s) – 40 g wild garlic – 1 tbsp olive oil – 2 tbsp almonds – 2 tbsp cashew nuts – 0.5 medium lemon(s) – 2 tsp mustard – 1 pinch salt – 1 pinch pepper – 400 g green asparagus – 200 g strawberry(s) – 3 sprigs basil – handful wild garlic – 0.5 medium lemon(s) – 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar – 1 pinch of pepper
For the garnish, cut the strawberries in half and marinate them with basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest/juice and some pepper. Then put it in a cool place.
For the wild garlic crust, chop the wild garlic and mix with the olive oil, lemon juice/peel, mustard and almonds. add cashews and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven (200 degrees hot air). Wash the asparagus. Cut away the woody end. Heat some olive oil in a pan, add asparagus and cook for approx. Saute on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Then reduce the heat and continue frying.
Heat olive oil in another pan, add steak and sear on high for 1.5 min on each side. Take out the steak. Put on the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper, coat steak with wild garlic topping and place in oven at 200 degrees for 3 minutes. Then finish cooking for another 3 minutes at 160 degrees hot air+grill.