I mentioned a few posts back that I’ve kind of gotten stuck in Steamed Asparagus with Hollandaise sauce Heaven. Not that there’s a single solitary thing wrong with this delectable dish – but I’d been wanting to try a new dance step with asparagus. So, I did just that a couple of times this week.
Baked Asparagus: Wednesday night, I baked asparagus. I washed the fresh asparagus (about 1-1/2 pounds), and snapped off the tough ends. I laid the asparagus down – with sides not touching – in a baking tray (a shallow cake pan is fine). I sprinkled the stalks with olive oil, salt, freshly ground pepper, chopped parsley (about 2 tablespoons), and garlic powder. Then I baked them just until the asparagus was tender – a little over 5 minutes.
Cast Iron Skillet Asparagus. Sunday Night, I used my cast iron grill skillet. I let the iron skillet heat up (to a medium-high temp.) while I prepared the asparagus (washed, trimmed). Then I brushed olive oil onto each stalk before placing it into the skillet. I seasoned the asparagus lightly with salt, pepper, and garlic pepper. I turned the stalks over after a few minutes, lightly seasoning the newly exposed side. At this point, I added a small amount of water to the bottom of the pan. The water created a lovely little sauna for the seasoned asparagus and, in no time at all, they were ready for the platter. When I removed them to the platter, I lightly squeezed a little fresh lime over the glistening beauties.
Notice I say “lightly” seasoned? The reason for this is the fact that cooking with cast iron gives you an outrageously amazing flavor that I frankly don’t want to mess with. Because of this incredible flavor, you can bypass the extra calories that come with many sauces, seasonings, and spreads (sigh, even Hollandaise Sauce). If you’re an asparagus fan, you seriously have to try this technique – it’s outstanding.
It’s tough to give exact times when giving vegetable recipes such as these simply because people like their vegetables cooked differently. I prefer mine to retain a little crispiness, while others like for them to collapse under the weight of a fork.
As always, just stay close by and test for yourself when you think your vegetables (in this case asparagus) are done.
Another tip: You might even want to use one asparagus stalk as a guinea pig. Take him through the motions and see how much, if any, seasonings you think are necessary. I SWEAR, cast iron magically creates its own flavor and seasonings. After taking my single stalk through the motions, I realized it was delicious as it was but that I wanted to experiment with more seasonings…. lightly.
I can’t wait to try asparagus recipes (as well as other vegetable recipes) on the grill. Grilled asparagus, grilled corn, grilled bell peppers, grilled mushrooms – all served alongside an orzo/rice combination makes my mouth water and my heart beat a little faster. What a tasty summer this will be!
The beauty at the top of the post is the Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Cobalt Square Grill Pan 10.25-in.. This grill pan, which will soon become your best friend in the kitchen, is available through Amazon. Click the link for more information.