How to Prep Asparagus, brought to you by Wüsthof.
Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: How to prep, slice, chop, and shave spring's most welcome vegetable.
Sure, we get excited about sunshine, about lighter jackets, about the flowers that bloom in our gardens, along the streets. But when springtime comes, we find ourselves fiending for -- and hoarding -- bundles and bundles of asparagus.
It's the spring vegetable that we're stuffing into omelets, tossing into pasta, shaving into salads, and making simply on its own. Here's how we prep it for each of our favorite spring dishes -- so we can get you as excited about asparagus as we are.
After giving your bundle a good soak in water to remove any grit, hold the bottom of an asparagus stalk in your two hands. Break off the woody end -- this should happen at its natural breaking point. (Or you can slice off the bottom 6-7 inches of the stalk, which Harold McGee does.) Repeat for all of your remaining asparagi.
For dishes that merit bigger pieces of asparagus -- ones where asparagus shines (mostly) on its own, like this Oyster Sauce Glazed Asparagus and Mushrooms -- slice the stalks into thirds or fourths on a bias.
For recipes where asparagus is more an ingredient than the star -- like in a pasta or grain dish -- chop it into smaller pieces. This will ensure you get a piece (or three!) in each bite.
You can also shave asparagus -- and then use it raw in salads. Grip the spear and peel down the length of the stalk until you have a pile of soft, green shavings. Mix those with mint, toasted hazelnuts, and parmesan, and save the spears for another dish (like this one).
Alternatively, for dishes calling for whole asparagus, you can shave the bottom end of the stalk for an elegant presentation.
We'll be slicing, chopping, and shaving asparagus until we clear out the market -- and spring turns to summer.
What are your favorite ways to use asparagus? Let us know in the comments!
Photos by James Ransom
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