Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Misadventures in Cooking - Asparagus stinks

Note: I've decided to rename this feature Misadventures in Cooking because...er, well, because it's more appropriate where I'm concerned.

For reasons beyond my comprehension, a couple of weeks ago I purchased a can of whole asparagus at the grocery store. When I got it home, I realized - I had no flippin' idea how to cook asparagus?!

So I did what I always do when I need an answer - I turned to twitter. I got advice from many tweeps on how best to prepare this veggie - and only one had the decency to suggest "throwing it away and not eating it." Next time, I'll surely listen to him.

In the meantime, I was following instructions I'd gotten elsewhere, and looking to butter, garlic and a grill to enhance this green vegetable. Don't get me wrong - they were excellent instructions. But of all the recommendations I got - I didn't get one warning about the awful smell. Which made me sad (and slightly nauseous).

Pressing on - in the name of better eating, trying new things, blog content and not wasting food - I proceeded to bury the shoots in melted butter and garlic salt, and plop them on my electric grill. I will admit - the final product didn't taste half bad....

I did not manage to choke down more than a couple of bites.
....but I'd drowned it in so much butter and garlic that I don't think what remained could actually be considered a vegetable. They were also soggy, so even if I got past the smell - I'd never get past that texture.

So what did I do wrong? Was it because the asparagus was canned, and not fresh? Did I use too much butter? Did I not grill long enough, or on a high enough heat?

I'm interested to learn - for learning sake. I won't be trying this dish again any time soon.


  1. OMG I didn't know it was in a can. I'll make you fresh and you'll see the difference. What are you doing this weekend?

  2. yes, the asparagus should have been fresh. i never eat canned vegetables with the exception of artichoke hearts. i have nightmares of the grey-ish green peas from the can from my youth. comparing those to fresh sugar snap peas or even the steam in the bag bright green peas is like comparing apples and oranges. i would always recommend using fresh over canned. i can't even imagine the texture of sitting-in-water for months canned asparagus... ick.

  3. If I'm cooking, always assume it's canned or frozen. Fresh produce scares the crap out of me.

    In any case, unless fresh asparagus smells different than canned, I'm not eating it. I could never get past that smell. Horrid.

  4. Fresh produce is nothing to be scared of, especially Asparagus.

    Next time get fresh asparagus, wash it, snap the hard bottoms of the stalks off (they will usually snap nicely with some gentle bending, leaving only the tender, tasty top parts. Toss them in a mix of olive oil, salt and pepper (Light on the olive oil, just enough to coat the stalks. Add garlic powder if you like to taste)Lay out on a cookie sheet (I usually lay down some non-stick tin foil for easy cleanup). Place in a 450 degree oven and roast for maybe 7-10 minutes. Turning periodically to make sure they don't burn, you want the tips to brown but not burn. Once browned remove from the oven, drizzle with some fresh lemon juice and viola! Roasted asparagus! Very yummy and no stinky smell!

    You can also sprinkle a generous layer of parmesan cheese on top before roasting for a sort of asparagus gratin. The cheese melts down and gets crispy on top...very tasty! And it looks all fancy too. ;-)

    Afterwards, just toss the foil and you're all done cleaning!

    Hope I've convinced you to give Asparagus another chance...if not you can do the same thing with fresh Brocolli...uncut green beans..anything really. Just make sure it's fresh and never canned! :-P

  5. Oh good lord.. canned? noooooo...

    buy fresh .. huge difference..