Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yum - Asparagus

April is the beginning of asparagus season. Since this lovely vegetable is now making its way to markets, this is a great time to pick some up!
I love asparagus mostly because it's tasty and super easy to prepare. But let's not forget how healthful this food is. It is a great source of fiber - and in fact it contains inulin which feeds healthy gut bacteria and therefore can support our immune systems. Asparagus is also very high in vitamins C, K, folate and carotenoids (Vitamin A precursors) especially. In this day in age where inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthiritis are so common, I'd like to point out the wide range of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds packed into this veggie. Asparagus is not a starchy vegetable and can be a very productive part of any diabetes prevention diet. 

So let's talk about my favorite part: eating it. There is no reason not to eat asparagus raw. You can dip the crispy spears in hummus or any dip of your choice or just snack on them on their own. 

You will notice that the bottom of the spears are hard and too fibrous to eat - but it's easy to snap them off. In fact I find it very irritating when I eat an asparagus dish at a restaurant and end up picking fibers out from between my teeth for the next half hour - no fun. So I find it's a good investment of time to just snap them and compost the woody ends. 
Here is my favorite way to make asparagus (have I mentioned I like simple?):

Take a bundle of asparagus, wash and snap off the woody ends
Heat extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil in a stainless steel pan on medium heat.
When the oil is hot (but not smoking!), add the asparagus and 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic and some coarse salt to taste.
Stir fry (though you really don't need to sir much - just enough for it not to stick to the bottom of pan) for a few minutes till the spears are cooked but still crispy. You might need to add just a bit of water during the cooking process to make sure the spears don't burn. And that's it! Serve with a chunk of wholesome grass fed meat.

Asparagus season lasts for about 2 months, so soak it up!

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