Today I sat down to lunch with Brother Charlie at a small cafe across from his new dig downtown. Having lived at home with Mom and Dad for most of his life he is unaccustomed to cooking, although he rather does love to eat. He shared with me while I hungrily chowed down a bowl of vegetarian chilli (as only a pregnant lady could) that he and his wife cooked dinner last night. She made the braised chicken and he a side of brussel sprouts, the brussel sprouts did not turn out well- this, funny enough, did not surprise me. For a first time cooker brussel sprouts would not be the first vegetable I would suggest trying to cook. I told him instead to try cooking asparagus, it is fantastically and appallingly simple to cook (using the boiling method)< this is the vegetable suggestion I would make to all bachelors and/or first time cookers. Asparagus is a seemingly sophisticated vegetable that can dazzle any visitor.
So, how easy is asparagus to boil? Literally, it's as simple as one-two-three...
1st STEP: Add a tablespoon or so of salt (it does not have to be exact) to enough water in a pot large enough to hold all your asparagus, bring this salted water to a boil.
2nd STEP: Add your trimmed asparagus to the boiling pot of water for 3 minutes and 15 seconds (by trimmed I mean, snap off the hard ends of the asparagus).
3rd STEP (optional): Dunk your asparagus in a bowl of ice-water to set the color and stop the cooking (I usually skip this step mostly due to laziness).
DRESSING THAT BEAUTIFUL ASPARAGUS: Lay your asparagus out on a plate, drizzle with good olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked pepper. If you want to get fancy you can shave a few strips of parmesan cheese on top (use a speed peeler for this, it works wonderfully for shaving cheese).