– by Jakob Anderson, Food Writer –
Please share! It’s good karma.
It’s here folks: asparagus season! Rush to your farmers markets, grab your spears, scent your pee, and get cooking. Question is, what is the best way to cook asparagus? A very versatile vegetable, asparagus can pose a problem if not treated with care.
Have you ever had mushy, stringy, overcooked asparagus? Throughout my youth I dined on my fair share of olive green, overcooked asparagus— but this is how my parents enjoyed it. For me however, asparagus should be cooked just past the point of having a, “snap.” The colour should be bright, vibrant green and you should have to use a knife to cut through the spear. My mother, among many others, would call this asparagus “undercooked,” but I feel it is the most respectful (and delicious) way to treat this spring vegetable. But how do you achieve the perfectly cooked asparagus?
Steamed and then tossed in butter (RIP Société Original Cultured Butter, I am savouring all the time I have left with you) is the way to go in my opinion. Steaming allows even cooking and is the best way to unlock the true flavours of the asparagus. If I had to choose a second option, it would be char grilled. This technique requires a lot of attention, and if you are grilling for a crowd…good luck (your wrist whip better be swift and direct).
There is one final conundrum when dealing with asparagus: do you eat it with a fried or poached egg? I mean, the egg is a must. I don’t care if you insist that eggs are for breakfast only, you serve that asparagus with an egg. I think again it will come down to personal preference. I eat steamed asparagus with a fried, sunny side up egg. The delicate, pure flavour of the asparagus matches up nicely with the caramelized and savoury egg (flake that salt on there too). It’s all about the contrast.
How do you like your asparagus? Tweet to @QAvenue and share your recipes. Don’t overcomplicate asparagus, keep it simple!
Steamed Asparagus with Cultured Butter and Fried Eggs
6 large spears of asparagus
1 tbsp cultured butter (or normal butter)
2 tbsp cultured butter
Flaky salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Fresh tarragon (optional)
Trim the fibrous bottom of your asparagus, ensuring all the spears are similar in size. Set up your steamer and steam asparagus for 3-4 minutes. Continuously check to avoid overcooking (I would recommend pulling them when they are just about cooked and then the carry over heat will do the rest). Toss in butter and set aside. In cast iron or nonstick pan, heat butter on medium heat. Add eggs and fry until the whites are completely set. Lay eggs on top of asparagus and finish with flaky salt, pepper and tarragon.
Jakob Anderson is a trained cook and food enthusiast who approaches cooking as something that connects people in ways they don’t realize. “I love talking about food, eating food, thinking food, discussing food, debating food, think about debating food, fooding food? I love food.”