FoodMartha Stewart's secret to perfect asparagus: A seasonal delight

Martha Stewart's secret to perfect asparagus: A seasonal delight

Roasted asparagus
Roasted asparagus
Images source: © Getty Images | Nebasin
1:21 PM EDT, April 23, 2024

The asparagus season is brief, making it essential to take full advantage of this period. Not only is asparagus delicious, but it also boasts various valuable nutrients. Wondering how to prepare it best? Let's turn to the advice of "America's most famous homemaker."

Martha Stewart, has long been recognized as a leading authority in homemaking and cooking. Her television and online shows are highly popular, and her books consistently top the bestseller charts.

Stewart is renowned for her advocacy of light cuisine that emphasizes fresh ingredients. She favors asparagus, a vegetable also cherished in Europe, believed to have originated from Mesopotamia in ancient times. The Romans, some of asparagus’s earliest and most enthusiastic admirers, enjoyed it with melted butter, salt, pepper, and citron juice—a precursor to today's lemon.

Cato the Elder, renowned for his work "De agri culture," named asparagus and cabbage as the only vegetables worth cultivating. Emperor Augustus, an avid asparagus fan, famously encouraged promptness with the phrase, "Do it before the asparagus cooks."

In modern times, asparagus remains popular. Yet many of us are unsure how to cook it so it remains crisp and tender. Thankfully, Martha Stewart shares her method for achieving just that. But how exactly does she prepare asparagus?

Asparagus – Nutritional Values

Aside from its delightful taste, asparagus offers significant nutritional and health benefits. Anciently, it served as a remedy for toothaches and a preventive measure against bee stings.

A 3.5-ounce serving of asparagus provides two-thirds of our daily requirement for folic acid, an essential compound, particularly for pregnant women. Folic acid helps reduce the risk of developmental defects in fetuses and is also crucial in producing serotonin and norepinephrine, or happiness hormones.

Besides being a great source of other B vitamins, especially thiamine (B1)—vital for the nervous, muscular, and cardiovascular systems—the vegetable aids in carbohydrate and glucose metabolism, hormone production, wound healing, and pain reduction. Thiamine dubbed the "vitamin of joy," enhances mood and resilience to stress by supporting choline's role in the nervous system.

Additionally, asparagus is packed with dietary fiber and glutathione, a potent antioxidant that combats the adverse effects of free radicals and assists the liver in purging toxic heavy metals.

Asparagus according to Martha Stewart

When shopping for asparagus, opt for firm, springy sprouts with tight heads and avoid any with thick, dry, or woody bases. Fresh asparagus will have a pleasant scent and should almost snap with juice when broken.

According to Martha Stewart, trim the tough ends off the asparagus. Then, place them in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with olive oil, and toss—season with coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, and a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

Roast the asparagus in an oven preheated to 428-446 degrees Fahrenheit. Stewart emphasizes that a high roasting temperature is crucial for unlocking the sprouts' full flavor and encasing them in a savory, cheesy crust.

This cooking method yields an excellent snack or side dish in just fifteen minutes.

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