Asparagus is by far the favourite vegetable of the d’Arabian family. All four of my school-aged daughters truly love it. I can serve nearly three pounds of asparagus at the table a couple of times of week to my family of six, and the girls will still argue over who gets the last stalk.
I say this not to impress you with the adventurous palettes of my kids; I am not the mom whose 3-year-old loved sushi and kale salad. I say this to encourage you to try different ways of serving asparagus to your family, especially if they aren’t huge vegetable-lovers.
Asparagus is truly jam-packed with vitamins and minerals, with a cup of asparagus providing more than 10 per cent of your daily requirement of at least 10 vitamins and minerals. The same cup has 3 grams each of protein and fiber, so it’s filling, and is under 30 calories. So it’s a worthy investment to get your family on board.
You can serve asparagus in hundreds of ways, cooked or raw, or even in between – cooking the outside for sweetness and keeping the inside cool, fresh with and with some snap.
Chop raw asparagus and serve it as a salad, dressed simply in lemon juice, olive oil, maybe a little garlic, black pepper and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Or steam it quickly – 3-4 minutes is usually enough – and then toss in a little olive oil and nutritional yeast, or the tiniest pat of butter. Cut the stalks into bite-sized pieces to bulk up a stir fry – the Asian flavour profile highlights the sweet asparagus flavour. Or our Tuesday night go-to: toss in a little olive oil and salt, and roast at 400 F for 7-8 minutes.
Today’s recipe is a simple, but flavourful saute. I use soy sauce instead of salt, which adds umami. A tiny bit of Dijon mustard and a touch of honey create a luscious glaze that make the asparagus sing.
Whatever you decide to do with the asparagus, you can turn leftovers into a soup simply by whirring up with a little broth and lemon juice in a blender until smooth. Unless, you are like our family, where asparagus leftovers are merely a hypothetical scenario.
SAUTEED ASPARAGUS IN SOY SAUCE GLAZE
Start to finish: 15 minutes
1 1/2 pounds of fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Rinse trimmed asparagus stalks, and shake dry, leaving them damp. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and stir with a wooden spoon until fragrant and starting to turn golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for two minutes, stirring with the wooden spoon. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce and lemon juice. Carefully pour over the asparagus, and stir once to disperse the sauce. Cover with a lid (or a baking sheet if pan is too large for a lid), and let steam for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix honey and mustard in the small bowl. Uncover the asparagus and stir. Drizzle or spoon the honey mustard mixture over the asparagus and cook until a glaze just starts to form (it will thicken as it cools), about two more minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to a platter and serve.
Nutrition information per serving: 46 calories; 13 calories from fat; 2 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 138 mg sodium; 7 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 3 g protein.
Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, “Supermarket Healthy.”
Melissa D’Arabian, The Associated Press