Many people have a problem with the taste of asparagus, but, like with Brussels sprouts, this usually stems from the fact that people don’t know how to cook the vegetable properly.
Firstly, it is important to prep asparagus properly. Snap off the brittle ends about an inch from the bottom. You should be able to do this quite easily by bending them. For larger asparagus, peel the outer green layer about an inch from the bottom as well. This part of the asparagus can be tough and stringy when cooked.
Next, choose your cooking method. You can boil, steam, roast, grill or saut asparagus.
To boil, bring a pot of water with a little bit of orange juice to a boil. The orange juice brings out the natural sugars in the asparagus. Place the asparagus in the boiling water, and cook until just green, but with a little bit of snap left, about 1-2 minutes for younger asparagus, and up to 5 for larger ones. As always, cooking times are approximate. The best thing to do is to taste the asparagus for the doneness you like. From then on, you will know the cooking time that best suits your tastes.
To steam, simply place the asparagus in the steamer basket and cook. Cooking times should be comparable to those for boiling. Both boiled and steamed asparagus can be served with salt, pepper and a little bit of olive oil.
To roast, place asparagus in a roasting pan with olive oil, salt, pepper and a bit of balsamic vinegar if you like. Roast at 450 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, tossing once, or until the outsides of the asparagus are caramelized and sweet. Roasted asparagus have a completely different taste from asparagus cooked in other ways, so if you have tried asparagus before and do not like them, this may be the best way for you to give them another try.
To grill your asparagus, simply season them and then place them on a prepared grill. For larger asparagus, you will probably want to parboil first for about one minute so that they cook all the way through without burning on the outside.
Sauted asparagus should also be prepared by parboiling. Then toss them in a skillet with butter until fully cooked, about five minutes, and serve with salt and pepper.
Asparagus can also be stirred into cooked dishes, such as risotto and pasta. Just bear in mind that you have to cook the asparagus before stirring them into these dishes, as the taste when raw is not nearly as delicious as when cooked.