Asparagus (蘆筍)

I love to serve Asparagus as dinner for 2 or dinner for a crowd because it is:

1) a simple dish to prepare
(rinse and drain; pick one stem up and snap the end off; drizzle olive oil and season with salt and pepper)

2) a dish that I can prepare a few hours before dinner
(store seasoned asparagus in a single layer on a baking pan in the refrigerator)

3) a simple dish to make
(bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until crunchy or tender for about 12 minutes to 20 minutes)

4) elegant
(the green stems of beauty stands out on a white platter)

5) nutritional
(vitamins B6, iron, C, plus fiber)

Asparagus also has no fat and no cholesterol.

Choose asparagus with tips that are closed and dry, not soggy or slimy. The smaller stems are the most tender, the larger ones taste heartier and bolder and tend to have woodier stems.

Interesting facts:

1) One distinctive problem with asparagus is that a constituent chemical of the plant is metabolised and excreted in the urine, giving it a distinctive, mildly unpleasant odor. Apparently not everyone who eats asparagus produces the odor, but also not everyone is able to smell the odor once it is produced. Some people prefer not to eat asparagus because of this effect, as it can put a damper on an otherwise romantic evening…

2) Asparagus comes in purple, white and the most common, green. Purple asparagus is a little sweeter than the green asparagus and the white asparagus is sunlight-deprived with milder and more delicate taste.

If you have time, try wrapping each stalk of Asparagus with bacon and the result is as such.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Asparagus (蘆筍)

  1. I love asparagus too, Mrs HBT. (Say “Argus’s asparagus” repeatedly several times and you’d get a tongue twister!) But I’ve no heart to throw away the rest of the stem, so I use a potato peeler to take away the skin. Only cut off and throw away half inch of the woody bottom part.
    Other half likes asparagus steamed soft but I like it stir-fried a bit crunchy still with some garlic and olive oil (sprinkled with salt after).
    Also, thanks for the nutritional information. How much is asparagus on your side of the globe? Here it is about CHF7 (RM21) for 1kg.

  2. Dear Argus,
    I either get my Asparagus from Costco or from Trader Joes. As I don’t remember how much I paid, I had to look up the price online, Costco sells 2.25 lbs (1.02 kg) of Asparagus for US$3.99 (RM12.57, assuming 3.15 exchange rate). Is my conversion right? Looks like US’ Asparagus is cheaper than Switzerland’s.

    I don’t throw out the hard stems either. I patiently peel them one by one and cut them into strips to stir fry with meat slices. In future, to avoid finger callus, I am thinking perhaps, I can puree the hard stems without peeling and make asparagus soup instead.

    Thanks for coming by.

  3. very healthy..maybe i shud start incorporating some of these in my diet if i ever want to lose weight..

  4. Hi lotsofcravings,
    I don’t know about losing weight, you probably have to give up carbs and eat a whole lot of Asparagus.

    Don’t know if you had a chance to read interesting fact #1. Your girlfriend might have an opinion if you incorporate too much into your diet plan.

  5. Kenny Mah

    Haha, I’ve met lotsofcravings‘ girlfriend and I can imagine what she’d say if he ate too much asparagus and produces side effect # 1. 😛

    I’ve actually put on weight recently, Mrs. HBT. Maybe I should go on an asparagus diet too? 😉

  6. Hi Kenny,
    You almost always have the right thing to say at any occasion and you do it effortlessly. Friends lifting one another…. I went to your blog searching for the quote but couldn’t find the exact post. You have taken time to stop by, despite your busy schedule. For that, I thank you.

    You should not worry about putting on weight, just make sure it is all around and not just around your tummy. Eating Asparagus is good for you but you still need to eat a well balanced diet, OK?

  7. Hey, Mrs HBT, I’ve met Kenny and he’s wiry and lean. Can’t imagine him putting on weight (maybe he’s imagining it!).
    Anyone who wants to go on a diet should only cut out half the carbs, not all — you still need some for energy. It’s better to cut out more of the fat (though not all) and most of the sugar (yeah, that’s simple carb). And then eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables (raw whenever possible) and some fish and lean chicken, and funny things like cottage cheese and plain low-fat yoghurt once or twice a week.
    Mrs HBT, has the US dollar exchange rate gone down from RM3.60 to RM3.15?! Yes, most things are more expensive in Switzerland than in the US.

  8. Dear Argus,
    Another great writer coming by again to give me another lift. Thanks! It sure feels good to have friends cheering me on.

    Thanks for your tips on dieting. “Anyone who wants to go on a diet should only cut out half the carbs, not all — you still need some for energy. It’s better to cut out more of the fat (though not all) and most of the sugar (yeah, that’s simple carb). And then eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables (raw whenever possible) and some fish and lean chicken, and funny things like cottage cheese and plain low-fat yoghurt once or twice a week.” Great tips!!

    My challenge is losing all the fat below my waist. 🙂

  9. Hey! I haven’t been over here in a while…nice to “see” you again!

  10. Dear Jaden,
    Roll out the red carpet……………….for celebrity Chinese Chef. Such an honor!

    p/s I read a plague this afternoon, “Behind every successful woman, there is herself“.
    It’s a little late to share your delicious Sparkling Ginger Lime Cooler. However, if there is a next time, I will eat or drink any of your PG-13 brilliant concoctions.

  11. alice

    Asparagus for me, but my son doesn’t quite fancy it when I don’t cut off the bottom part much. I cut a little and peel off the skin near the hard part.

  12. Dear Sister Alice,
    Thanks for coming by. Cut a little off the bottom of the stem and peel off the skin near the hard part is what I do as well. It is a lot of work, isn’t it?

    I suggest choosing the smaller stems for your son as they are more tender. Although the larger stems taste heartier and bolder, they tend to have woodier stems.

    Alternatively, after you cut a little off the bottom of the stems, you can pick each stem up, snap the end off and save the stems. I was thinking perhaps you can puree the stems and use it to make Asparagus soup. What do you think?

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