September 7, 2006

Healthy Green Spears

Growing up close to the equator where imported spears of asparagus were scarce; I always had an inaccurate impression that they were evil bitter greens as how children books and kiddy-tv often described them to be. Children from fairy tales, story books and foreign television often ran away from broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts and spinach (Popeye doesn't count as a child). I never had much of a clue what they tasted/looked like! and I wasn't too eager to find out.
I only began nuturing my new found love for vegetables after discovering the Australian fresh produce markets where freshly picked fruit were juicy and delectable and an abundance of greens of many sorts were piled up looking fresh, crisp and temptingly enormous!
In my first year here in Australia; I spent a lot of time at markets/supermarket aisles discovering new found 'food' and 'cultures' through reading many helpful 'tip-charts' at Woolworths and enquiring from fellow local grocery shoppers "What's this?" "What does it taste like?" "How do I cook it?" Do I need to cook it?" Haha. I must have looked like a complete idiot; paired up with my funny Malaysian accent and shallow general knowledge of food products. I soaked up my experiences like a sponge in the first couple of months and soon began maneuvering around the fresh produce aisles like a pro semi-pro.*grin*
I remember the day I spotted a pretty bunch of vegetable looking sticks, picked them up and declared them "kitchen-experiment of the day". That was my very first encounter with asparagus.
It was love at first bite. I was amazed at how good they tasted and how they gave a satisfying crisp crunch! The kids from the storybooks probably had bad taste! Their bright cheerful green tones looked delicious and attractive after they've been cooked. I personally feel they're best eaten blanched quickly in boiling water and salted with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Here are a couple of helpful pointers with asparagusBuying: Look for compact tips and bright colored sticks.
Storing: Snap off a little of the ends and stand in a glass of water. Cover the spears loosely with a large sheet of cling wrap. Store in the refrigerator for 5 days to a week.
Cook with: Mushrooms, butter, eggs, capers, ham, dill, prosciutto
Microwave: Place spears in microwave steamer. Steam on high for 2-3 minutes till spears are bright green and crisp.

Here's what I've done today;
1/2 onion sliced
2 cloves garlic diced
7 spears asparagus; woody ends snapped off and cooked briefly in the microwave
2 tbsp hot Mexican salsa
1 tsp sea salt
3 eggs
2 tbsp low fat milk
Saute garlic and onions in a flat non stick pan. Beat eggs, sea salt and milk lightly. Pour into the pan to form a large round omelet. Increase stove heat to high. Arrange cooked asparagus spears in the middle. Spoon salsa on top and fold sides over to meet. Briskly flip *might get a little tricky here* and serve piping hot!


Alma Elizabeth said...

my mum has a tip about cooking asparagus to ensure that the stalks are soft, but the tops are crisp. She says that if you are boiling them, boil them in a deep pot standing up such that the boiling water only contacts the stalks and not the tops of the asparagus. And don't cover the pot with the the metal lid when you are boiling the stalks. Blanch the asparagus in ice cold water after removing them from the boiling water.

Alma Elizabeth said...

sorry typo error. I meant plunge them in cold water after blanching the asparagus.

Su-Yin said...

thanks for the tips
im a microwave junkie...but ill try that next time :)

CeXiCeX said...

izit wut u making is ermm.... asparagus ommelete..ommelette?.. issh...spellings.... always get them wrong....arghh... eh.... i realise something... un never make tong sui..tong soi...thong sui... wuteva la....umm... i can just taste bobo cha cha...ummmmm...uurrgghhh....

Su-Yin said...

haha are you hinting at something wesley? hehe; i'll see waht I can do :P

hobart said...

what a coincidence...i just caught a show on abc last night and they were talking about asparagus...the tip about boiling them upright on an unlidded deep pot came up too (so the tip doesn't get overcooked and the stalk stays perfect) . i liked the simple way they cooked them (no point killing tasty asparagus with fancy stuff hor?..they've got beautiful flavours themselves) . all that was done to them was boil , chuck in cold water , brush with butter and serve topped with perfectly poached eggs where you can use the yolk somewhat as a dip sauce , which is arguably yucky delicious haha . all fresh flavours...mmm .

Yan said...

Yin, try stifrying with sambal :p

Janice said...

Hi ,

I chanced upon your blog and I must say I enjoyed all of it, especially all the food!

I'm from Singapore but currently in Canberra and I was/am just like you...clueless about all the greens here...till now still, though I've been here for more den 6 months already.

I'm very impressed that you ttake so much effort to beautify your food...I'm greatly encouraged but i've constraints like a hubby and a kid...:P
So I'll juz drool over you blog...hehehe

Su-Yin said...

Thanks janice :)...I hope you'll keep discovering new stuff..its great to experiment in the kitchen! my dear friend yan here who discovered eating it with sambal!! I happen to have some sambal in the fridge *runs off to try asparagus+sambal belacan*