Asparagus is tasty – steamed, sautéed or raw

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Lonnie's Lagniappe

My daughter-in-law called the other day to tell me about her great grocery savings: She bought $120 worth of groceries for under $54.
She is now known in our family as the “coupon queen,” and rightfully so.
The other reason for her call was to tell me how she had prepared asparagus for her family, including her parents. She was so proud because her father had paid her the best compliment.
In the beginning of her marriage to our son, she had little experience cooking and felt a bit intimidated by it. Of course, having a mother-in-law who was a caterer and writes a food column didn’t help at all. She is a teacher, so I told her that if she could read, she could definitely cook. This is true for everyone.
In the beginning, it is best if you follow the recipes exactly, then as you become more comfortable with it, try your favorite recipes with added ingredients or herbs. And most importantly, keep trying new things.
She is very fortunate because her husband, my son, is very much like his father in that he is always willing to try new things, and he appreciates her efforts. So now she not only calls and texts me regarding our very special and perfect grandchildren, but she also calls regarding big grocery savings and cooking. She is a keeper and thankfully my son knows it. Besides, his mother will never let him forget it.
Let’s get back to the asparagus. My first experience was as a child. My mother always bought it canned, and I definitely did not like it. It tasted and felt absolutely “yucky” in my mouth, and still does if it is canned. It was in Connecticut where I learned how wonderful it tastes. A friend suggested I try it at a luncheon we were attending, and I became completely hooked on it.
I love it roasted, steamed, sautéed, in soup, marinated and served cold. In fact, I have even served it raw on a vegetable tray with dip and it is fantastic. See what you learn to like when you try new things? I like it cooked al dente, until just slightly limp.
It comes in all different colors — green, white or purple. You can serve it drizzled with butter, vinaigrette or hollandaise sauce (heaven!). It is best to buy it very fresh. Be sure to check the tip and stalk for color and freshness. Pick the greenest asparagus with straight, firm stalks and the tips should be firm and tightly closed, with a slightly lavender tint. If the tips feel mushy, it is not fresh asparagus.
After purchasing it, cut or break the ends off. If you are not going to eat it immediately, then don’t wash it; store it in a plastic bag in crisper drawer of your refrigerator. When ready to cook it, be sure to wash it first.
Spring brings asparagus, so now it’s time for that favorite dish from my daughter-in-law, Beth. I give you:

Roasted asparagus
with Parmesan cheese

  • 1 lb. or more fresh asparagus, cleaned and ends snapped off.
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup (more or less to your preference) grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cleaned asparagus in an oven proof dish. Drizzle on olive oil, top with minced garlic evenly distributed over it. Now sprinkle on cheese. Place in oven and roast about 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and slightly golden; asparagus should be al dente. Serve, savor and most definitely,

Lonnie Sundermeyer is a retired professional caterer who lives in Ghent, Ky.