Asparagus is a vegetable native to Europe, western Asia and northern Africa; it is also widely grown throughout North America, with the majority of the crop in the United States coming from California. It is best to eat asparagus while the shoots are young because as soon as the shoots open they quickly become woody. Asparagus is a super vegetable and it can be paired with meats, fish, poultry and cheese and it is even tasty on its own. In addition to its versatility it is low in calories and sodium so it leaves room to add salt but probably, most impressive is the vast amount of vitamins and nutrients this vegetable contains. Asparagus is rich in; vitamin B, calcium, magnesium, zinc, dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, rutin, niacin, folic acid, iron and a host of others.
Types of asparagus
There are three main types of asparagus- green,white and purple.
Green asparagus develops its color from the photosynthetic process occurring as the shoot of the plant emerges from the soil. The shoots are called spears and are picked when the heads are tightly closed and the spears are thick enough.
Grilling green asparagus
- When grilling your green asparagus you will need to snap off the coarse ends (the point where the green color fades) with your hands or you may use a knife to cut them off and leave the heads intact.
- If you like crunchy veggies, fire up your grill to a low heat.
- Place your stalks on plate and sprinkle extra virgin olive oil, black pepper and salt over them.
- Place the stalks directly on top of the grill, turning them with your tongs every minute for at least 7 minutes.
- If you like your vegetables with a little less crunch you can blanch them before grilling them.
To blanch your asparagus
- Half fill a pot with water and add two tablespoons of salt.
- Put some ice cold water into a bowl and rest it on your counter.
- When your water starts to boil, add your stalks and wait until the water comes to a boil again.
- Remove your pot from the heat and immediately put the stalks into the ice water bath you had previously prepared.
- Blanching softens up your asparagus just a bit before you grill them.
White asparagus is thicker than green asparagus and is grown in the soil therefore they do not get the opportunity to photosynthesize.
Grilling white asparagus
- Use a vegetable peeler to reduce the coarse shoots a bit. When you are satisfied snap off the woody ends and leave the heads intact.
- Follow steps 2-4 in your how to grill asparagus (green) method.
- If you prefer to blanch your stalks first, then follow the blanching method.
The purple asparagus has less fiber than its green or white counterparts, it is therefore more tender than both. The purple color comes from the potency of antioxidants contained in this vegetable. This type of asparagus is usually served raw, but can also be grilled. To grill purple asparagus follow the instructions for how to grill asparagus (green).