This is one of my favorite ways to make asparagus -- crsip and dressed like a salad. By blanching these precious stalks, you will retain more of their abundance of vitamins and minerals -- and asparagus is packed with nutrients (see below). The saucy lemon vinaigrette is the perfect dressing for this earthy, healthy spring vegetable.
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 freshly squeezed lemon (zested first)
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup good olive oil
One full bunch of asparagus
(Choose firm asparagus with tight, dry heads. Thickness is a matter of preference. Should be bright green in color. Use w/in 1-2 days for best flavor, good up to 5 days. Store in open container with a wet paper towel wrapping the base of the stalks. Or stand them straight up in a 1/2 inch of water.)
Put it together
Wash the asparagus really well and either cut off the woody bottoms or take a few stalks at a time and break them. The stalks will break easily at the perfect point. Toss or compost the woody bottoms and set the tender stalks aside. Fill a large bowl with ice water (including chunks of ice). Set it near the stove. Bring a large pot of water to boil and place the asparagus into the water for 1-3 minutes - depending upon the thickness of the stalks. Remove the stalks with a slotted spoon and plunge them whole-heartedly into the ice water. This will preserve the beautiful green color and keep them nice and crisp. I like asparagus nice and lively so I don't keep it in too long.
Make the Vinaigrette
Put the mustard, salt, lemon and its zest into a bowl and whisk together. Slowly add in the olive oil as you as you continue to whisk. It will take about 1/2 cup of olive oil to make the right thickness. But if you get the thickness you want before you use the entire 1/2 cup, then you don't have to add it all!
Pour over the asparagus and enjoy.
Add More Power to Your Asparagus
Another way to enjoy your blanched asparagus is with grapefruit and avocado. Check out how I serve it or go right to Ina Garten's recipe for Grapefruit and Avocado Salad. Ina's dressing is very similar and her salad tastes great with a side of blanched asparagus using her wonderful dressing. Grapefruit is full of lycopene and Avocado is one of the 3 top vegetables (along with asparagus and water melon) for the triple amino acid, glutathion.
I've always wondered why asparagus inspires such a distinctive odor as you ... er... release your water in the water closet (OK, it makes your pee stink). Here is a great article from Organic Authority that explains some of this. In short, asparagine is an amino acid that helps you cleans your bod of waist and toxins. It helps clean your kidneys (stones beware) and asparagus is super high in the following vitamins, nutrients and minerals:
Vitamin: C, K, Folate, Thiamine, B6, & A
Minerals: manganese, copper, phosphorus, potassium
Amino Acids: high in glutathione - a small protein composed of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine.
Fiber: lots of it.
Rutin: according to the www.washintonasparagus.com, rutin is a bioflavanoid that helps circulation, especially to the lower limbs.
And in case you are wondering, asparagus is thought to be an aphrodisiac - specifically, because of "psycho-physiological" properties (it's shape inspires naughty thoughts).
Read more about asparagus on Organic Authority's web site.