How to cook asparagus

Asparagus takes 10–15 minutes to cook, depending on how thick the stalks are. These need longer cooking than the tips, and determining cooking time can be tricky. Here are 3 solutions to the problem:

In an asparagus steamer

To cook in a specially designed asparagus steamer, stand the stems upright in the wire basket and add water to about halfway up their length. Simmer until tender when pierced just above the water level with the tip of a knife.

In a wok

Shorter stems of asparagus can be cooked in a wok. Arrange them like the spokes of a wheel, so that only their bases are immersed in the cooking water. Cover with the lid and simmer until tender.

In a pan

Tied bundles of asparagus can be cooked in a deep saucepan, held up by new potatoes. Cover with a dome of foil tucked in tightly around the outer rim of the pan and cook until tender. The asparagus-flavoured potatoes can be eaten hot or cold.