One of the earliest vegetables to appear each spring is asparagus. In
today’s marketplace it is available almost year-round, but truly tender and
delicious asparagus is only found in the spring and preferably grown locally.
Sold by size, based on the thickness of the stalk, this versatile
vegetable can range from colossal or jumbo to standard to small or pencil.
“Look for uniformity in size when you buy a bunch to ensure uniform
cooking times,” says CIA Chef Fred Brash. “You also want tight closed tips with
nothing open or seeding, and you’ll want to avoid shriveling stalks, or
excessive woodiness at the base.”
Asparagus comes in three varieties: green, white, and purple. Green is
the most popular in this country. White has always been preferred primarily in
Europe and is gaining ground in the United States. Purple is more rare and is
sometimes only found at farm stands. A member of the lily family, which also
includes leeks and garlic, asparagus is highly nutritious and delicious in many
preparations. Some cooks like to peel it, but generally that is only needed
with thicker stalks. Standard-size asparagus works best for this recipe.
To enjoy a brief step-by-step demonstration of CIA Professor of
Culinary Arts Fred Brash preparing Chilled Asparagus with Mustard Herb
Vinaigrette, watch the video below!
This recipe was adapted
from THE CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA VEGETABLES cookbook (2007, Lebhar-Friedman), available for purchase at bookstores nationwide.
Nutritional Information per
4.5-ounce serving—Calories: 90, Protein: 3 g, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 2
g, Total Fat: 7 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Sodium: 180 mg.