Cooking with asparagus

I love spring because there is so much more fresh produce and fruit. And the veggies and herbs in the garden are bursting into flower or new growth. Berries and spring vegetables are cheap and plentiful, and once again two of my favourites, asparagus and artichokes, are cheap and readily available. Asparagus, especially new season varieties, is something that I love cooking with. There are many types – thin and long or fat and thick, green, purple and white. I was surprised to see some growing in the hot dry climate of Sigiriya in Sri Lanka, and these were fresh, tender, very thin and sweet. I was doing a demonstration and the bunch was on the table to add a touch of fresh green and I just had to use them as an extra dish as they were so fresh and sweet. I chopped them up and added them to a stir fry of shredded leaves called a ‘mallung’.

When using and cooking with asparagus it is best to snap the ends off by just holding them at the end and bending the stalk until it snaps. Some like to peel the stalks but unless they are particularly woody I don’t usually peel them, with the fatter stalks I like to slice them thinly vertically and they curl up if cooked or if placed in iced water if using them raw in a salad.

A couple of weeks ago when they first appeared on the shelves here and were less than a dollar a bunch I was using them almost every day. Recently I did a quick stir fry of asparagus, onions, green prawns with a touch of curry spices, a quick, easy and delicious meal. I like combining asparagus with a hint of curry powder or finely sliced chilli for a new way of cooking them instead of the usual grilling, blanching or steaming.

Check out the recipe for my spiced prawns and asparagus.