Asparagus is by far the favorite vegetable of the d'Arabian family. All four of my school-aged daughters truly love it. I can serve nearly three pounds of asparagus at the table a couple of times of week to my family of six, and the girls will still argue over who gets the last stalk.
I say this not to impress you with the adventurous palettes of my kids; I am not the mom whose 3-year-old loved sushi and kale salad. I say this to encourage you to try different ways of serving asparagus to your family, especially if they aren't huge vegetable-lovers.
Asparagus is truly jam-packed with vitamins and minerals, with a cup of asparagus providing more than 10 percent of your daily requirement of at least 10 vitamins and minerals. The same cup has 3 grams each of protein and fiber, so it's filling, and is under 30 calories. So it's a worthy investment to get your family on board.
You can serve asparagus in hundreds of ways, cooked or raw, or even in between -- cooking the outside for sweetness and keeping the inside cool, fresh with and with some snap.
Chop raw asparagus and serve it as a salad, dressed simply in lemon juice, olive oil, maybe a little garlic, black pepper and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Or steam it quickly -- 3-4 minutes is usually enough -- and then toss in a little olive oil and nutritional yeast, or the tiniest pat of butter. Cut the stalks into bite-sized pieces to bulk up a stir fry -- the Asian flavor profile highlights the sweet asparagus flavor. Or our Tuesday night go-to: toss in a little olive oil and salt, and roast at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes.
Today's recipe is a simple, but flavorful saute. I use soy sauce instead of salt, which adds umami. A tiny bit of Dijon mustard and a touch of honey create a luscious glaze that make the asparagus sing.
Whatever you decide to do with the asparagus, you can turn leftovers into a soup simply by whirring up with a little broth and lemon juice in a blender until smooth. Unless, you are like our family, where asparagus leftovers are merely a hypothetical scenario.
• Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, "Supermarket Healthy." Visit http://www.melissadarabian.net