Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have it from two sources that asparagus should be peeled before being cooked in simmering water (Julia Child) or fried in butter (Heston Blumenthal). I tried Julia's method once and I've been discouraged from peeling them again ever since.

I probably overcooked on that attempt; they turned out a bit limp. But even so, don't asparagus look nicer with the skin on? And what's wrong with the skin anyway?

The asparagus spears I buy are quite thin with tender skin. Does the advice to peel only apply for thick asparagus spears?

share|improve this question
add comment

6 Answers 6

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I've heard the same recommendation before - the idea is that if asparagus is very thick (say, 1/2 inch or more in diameter), and if the bottom is much thicker than the top of the spear, then peeling it will help it to cook more evenly.

If you have particularly thick asparagus that seem tough, you may want to peel the bottom section. First, chop or snap off the bottom inch or so, as it will most likely be inedibly tough. Then peel the next 2-3 inches up. You'll want to lay the asparagus down on a flat surface to do so, so as not to snap it while peeling.

I've never had asparagus from a grocery store that was tough enough to warrant this, but it can happen with homegrown, for whatever reason.

share|improve this answer
1  
I agree -- I never peel more than about 2" (5cm) of the bottom, and only then then they're fiberous and tough. –  Joe Aug 14 '10 at 2:34
    
no mention of green vs white? –  Izzydorio Apr 26 '11 at 9:39
add comment

As a rule of thumb that would pretty much coincide with what JustRightMenus said: green asparagus is generally not peeled, but white asparagus should definitely be peeled. I think it's the same plant, just cultivated in a different way. (And interestingly, in Germany and the Netherlands, the green stuff is much less common, whereas in North America I've never seen the white ones.)

share|improve this answer
1  
You're right about green vs. white. White is just the same plant grown without light. –  DustyD Aug 16 '10 at 2:40
add comment

Strange, I've never heard of peeling asparagus. Ive never done it even with the thickest of stalks. The only thing you have to make sure you do is snap off the woody ends of the stems. I also only steam, roast, or grill my asparagus.

share|improve this answer
add comment

My grandmother used to peel her asparagus (the thick-stalked ones) so that it would cook up tenderly and look pretty on her platters. She used to peel her celery, as well (apparently because she believed that thick celery skin was bad for the digestion in addition to being ugly. I've seen similar ideas in some of my old cookbooks).

In several of my old cookbooks, the peeling of asparagus is presented as having to do with being able to eat the late, woodier pickings (peeling it ensures tenderness) and aesthetics. Frankly, I think unpeeled asparagus looks just fine, so I don't peel mine---and thick asparagus is great for the grill!

share|improve this answer
add comment

Normally, I just snap off the woody ends, but if the asparagus is particularly thick I will slice it length-wise on a diagonal. It all comes down to preference, and which is more labor-intensive. In general, I disagree with peeling fruits and vegetables because so many vitamins and good-for-you stuff are in the peels!

share|improve this answer
add comment

I have never peeled green asparagus just removed the woody ends and have always cooked it the same way - in my trusty 30 year old Panasonic microwave which never seems to break down! It is perfect every time, just like steaming I guess.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.