Asparagus is delicious, but easy to overcook. It only just needs a few minutes and it’s done. More than that and you get a horrid, stringy vegetable mass that tastes a bit like canned green beans.
I recently ordered asparagus at a local Perkins restaurant. I don’t know what I was thinking. There was little chance they’d do it right and, in fact, they didn’t. So very disappointed, but I didn’t think the cook had any idea. Perhaps I should have complained. Would it have made any difference? Would it have gotten back to the cook and educated him on the proper way to cook this vegetable? Probably not. *sigh*
I’ve overcooked asparagus myself before. Several times, in fact. I always feel bad when I do because it can be such a lovely dish when done properly. I wonder how many people don’t know how to cook it and think that the overcooked version is what it’s supposed to taste like.
My favorite, and most successful, recipe for Asparagus is below. You can tell it’s good because it starts with bacon.
Sauteed Asparagus with Onions, Peppers and Bacon in Cider Vinegar
5 or 6 strips of bacon, cut into one inch pieces
One Medium Onion, sliced
One Sweet Bell Pepper, chopped into one inch pieces (Red, Yellow or Orange is best, but Green is acceptable)
One bunch of Asparagus, chopped into one inch pieces
Some Cider Vinegar (Maybe 4 tablespoons or so)
Note: Make sure you snap off the woody end of the asparagus stalk and discard. You don’t eat this part of the stalk.
In a Medium-Hot frying pan, cook the bacon. Do not drain.
Add Onions and cook until just soft.
Reduce heat to Medium.
Add Cider Vinegar. Use your discretion on how much. A couple splashes, is how I’d define it.
Add Peppers and cook for a minute or three until they start to get a bit soft.
Add Asparagus and cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Every minute or so, take a piece out and taste it so you can be sure not to overcook it. It should still be crispy, but warmed through and not raw.
Take off heat and transfer to a large bowl to serve. The dish cools quickly, so be sure to cover if you won’t be serving immediately. I like to use the Warm Hold setting on my microwave for this.