In season: Asparagus
Nothing screams summer veg like crisp, green asparagus. Yum!
This vegetable is so tasty you might think it's a guilty pleasure, but you shouldn't because asparagus has only 100 kJ for every 5 spears and it’s a low GI vegetable.
'It is high in antioxidants, which helps to protect the body against disease and repair any damage to the body,' explains dietician Lila Bruk of Lila Bruk & Associates. Asparagus is also high in folic acid (important for red blood cell structure and nerve function), vitamin K (for bone health) and vitamin C (to strengthen the immune system). 'They also have a diuretic effect, which can help those who feel they have a problem with water retention,' says Lila.
When buying asparagus, look for ones that are firm to the touch and bright green in colour. The ends of the spears should be green or purplish and not yellowish or dried out, explains Lila.
Do you know the difference between white and green asparagus? White asparagus is grown underground and therefore no chlorophyll is produced and the plant stays white in colour. The green asparagus we are used to eating has absorbed sunlight and produced chlorophyll giving it its green appearance.
We asked FAIRLADY’s Food Editor Justine Kiggen what she loves about asparagus:
What is your favourite way to cook asparagus?
I like to cook baby asparagus on a griddle pan, to char them, and then serve them tossed in balsamic vinaigrette.
What is your favourite recipe that uses asparagus?
I love steamed asparagus, smothered in Hollandaise sauce.
What food pairs well with asparagus?
They pair well with rich sauces like Hollandaise, cheese sauce and vinaigrettes. Asparagus also works well with pastry, as a topping or as a filling and they go well with most proteins but especially salmon, fillet and chicken breasts. Before cooking asparagus remember to cut off the woody ends at the bottom of the asparagus stalk.
Try Justine's scrumptious asparagus frittata. We can't think of anything better than the mixture of cream, eggs, asparagus and Dijon mustard- delicious! Get the recipe here.