Learn About Asparagus

by John Wood

Learn About Asparagus

Asparagus is one of the best vegetables available in this area.  I get nostalgic during the season and remember peeling tons of asparagus when I was a cook coming up in restaurants.  For line cooks, spring is fun because you get lots of new items to work with, but you also dread it because it means you will be running even faster than usual to prepare everything in time.

Asparagus lose most of their natural sugars within 24 hours of being harvested.  The way that they are harvested and kept is what makes the difference between eating something that tastes like cardboard and eating something that is still sweet and full of flavor (ie. nutrients).  You can tell, to a certain extent, how fresh the asparagus is by examining the bottom - the less dried and hard it is, the fresher.  Although it is best to eat as soon as possible once purchased, if you are going to store for a couple days, place the asparagus spears in a cup of water in the refrigerator - like flowers.  You can even add a spoonful of sugar to the water if you know it is going to sit in there for a couple days.  I only buy asparagus directly from the farmer, and at our farmer’s markets, there are plenty of great farmers who will be selling fresh asparagus for us to enjoy.

Good asparagus tastes great on its own - it doesn’t need a lot of fuss.  The farmer’s do the hard work.  I love to cook it on the grill as an easy side dish when I am grilling some fish or steak.

 Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan

*Yields 4 servings

  • 2 lbs Asparagus, stalks trimmed
  • 1 tbs Grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 3 tbs Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1 Lemon, washed and cut into 4 wedges
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Heat your grill on high heat.
  2. Gently toss the asparagus in grapeseed oil, sea salt, and pepper.
  3. Gently place on the grill and let sear each side for 2-3 minutes.  You want it to get some color and char.
  4. Remove. Top with the parmesan and serve with lemon wedge on side.
  5. Drizzle with some high quality extra virgin olive oil.  I recommend something mild and buttery like our Dua Taggiasca Olive Oil. 


    About the Author
    John Wood
    Chef John Wood
    John’s passion for humble, authentic food developed from a childhood spent moving around in Africa and Central America. As the son of diplomats, he moved a lot as a child, immersing himself in the rich cultural and culinary traditions of different nations. In his teens, John got a job as a dishwasher in a small French restaurant in DC. It was there that he fell in love with the kitchen and decided he wanted to be wanted to be a chef. John has spent the last 20 years working with the areas best chefs and restauranteurs like Bob Kinkead and Ashok Bajaj. Strict adherence to proper technique and sourcing quality ingredients are the foundation of his cooking.
    About Open Hand

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