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Air-Fryer Asparagus Recipe

Why It Works

  • Preheating the air fryer basket sears the outside of the asparagus, giving it a woodsy, roasted taste.
  • Not overcrowding the air fryer basket encourages correct airflow and even cooking.

When spring is within the air and vibrant inexperienced greens begin making their means into my native market, I get so excited you may discover me skipping down the produce aisle, joyfully throwing fiddleheads and ramps into the air, and usually inflicting a scene. However earlier than I am escorted out for my overenthusiastic conduct, I all the time make a degree to seize my favourite springtime veggie: asparagus. 

Asparagus is a staple inexperienced in my weekly dinner rotation all through the spring and into the summer time. With its earthy recent taste with a touch of sweetness and its satisfying plump and tender texture, asparagus pairs effectively with virtually any meal. However what I like finest is how darn quick it’s to arrange. Asparagus is a particularly versatile vegetable that may be cooked some ways. It’s nice roasted, grilled, blanched, microwaved, or braised, however my favourite fast and straightforward technique to put together asparagus for weeknight dinners is within the air fryer.

The air fryer’s mixture of excessive warmth and regular airflow wicks away moisture from the asparagus whereas it cooks and caramelizes the sugars in recent asparagus, including a wonderful complexity of taste. Inside ten minutes you’ll have asparagus that’s calmly browned and roasty on the skin and tender-crisp inside. Listed here are a couple of suggestions for getting excellent asparagus in your air fryer.

Shopping for Asparagus

Critical Eats/Jen Causey


As a way to cook dinner asparagus rather well, it’s essential begin with recent, prime quality asparagus. I’ll echo Kenji’s tips for buying and prepping asparagus and say that whether or not buying inexperienced, white, and even purple asparagus, you must all the time look for a similar traits: agency, crisp stalks with tight, absolutely closed budding suggestions. Because the asparagus ages, the petals on the tip will slowly open up, dry out, or fall off—so be looking out for these warning indicators that your asparagus is previous its prime. You additionally wish to keep away from asparagus with moist or slimy suggestions or stalks which might be limp or bendable. Search for asparagus that seems to be freshly reduce and shiny, not dry or woody.

When choosing asparagus to cook dinner in an air fryer, I like to recommend selecting thicker spears—about 1/2 inch thick or bigger. Thicker asparagus are extra tender due to their higher soluble fiber content and water retention than thinner spears. The thicker spears can cook dinner longer within the air fryer so that they get a pleasant caramelized exterior whereas sustaining a crisp and juicy inside. Thinner spears will cook dinner extra shortly all over, which supplies much less time for the skin to develop a roasty taste.

Prepping Asparagus for Cooking within the Air Fryer

The one prep asparagus actually wants earlier than cooking is trimming the woody ends which might be too powerful and fibrous to chew. Whereas some individuals swear by snapping the ends of asparagus off at their pure breaking level, Critical Eats has confirmed it’s best to cut the ends off. Chopping the powerful fibrous ends of the asparagus off minimizes the danger of losing any unintentionally snapped bits of the tender asparagus, and makes for a nicer presentation. To chop on the proper place, merely eyeball the place the asparagus lightens in shade and really feel that space to pinpoint the place it turns into extra fibrous and tough in texture, then trim off the tough half. In case your asparagus is particularly woody, you may also use a vegetable peeler to take away the outer layer of the asparagus from the underside half of the asparagus or all the way in which as much as the tip. I often skip peeling as I like how the skinny, barely fibrous asparagus pores and skin offsets its fleshy and tender inside.

Critical Eats/Jen Causey


Ideas for Cooking Asparagus in an Air Fryer

When asparagus is cooked correctly in an air fryer, it needs to be tender whereas nonetheless retaining a little bit of crisp texture within the core off every spear. On the skin, there needs to be a little bit of char and browning, notably on the asparagus suggestions. This browning and Maillard reaction is what delivers these roasted/caramelized flavors we wish. You need them roasty on the skin and tender inside, however not completely limp—recent spring asparagus is finest when it nonetheless has some chunk left in it.

Preheat the air fryer and cook dinner at a excessive temperature: Since asparagus spears cook dinner so shortly, you need the outside to begin cooking instantly. The oil-coated asparagus ought to sizzle barely on contact with the air fryer, so take the additional 5 minutes to preheat the air fryer. Cooking at a excessive warmth of 400°F permits the skin of the asparagus to develop a woodsy, roasted taste and get barely charred earlier than the within of the spears overcook.

Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket: Overcrowding the air fryer basket can forestall correct air circulation and end in uneven cooking of the asparagus. It will probably additionally trigger the asparagus to steam somewhat than roast, which prevents the slight browning we’re going for right here. Keep away from this by cooking the asparagus in a single layer or in batches if mandatory. For a six-quart or bigger capability air fryer, one pound of asparagus will slot in one batch, however for a smaller capability air fryer, chances are you’ll have to cook dinner the asparagus in two batches. Earlier than cooking, verify to see if the asparagus will lay flat into your air fryer. If wanted, the asparagus could be halved crosswise to make sure the asparagus matches into your air fryer.

Critical Eats/Jen Causey


Serving Recommendations

Recent, in-season asparagus that’s been completely roasted within the air fryer doesn’t want a lot adornment. It’s great if you maintain it easy with only a squeeze of lemon juice or a drizzle of your most well-liked vinegar to complete, a couple of shavings of a pointy exhausting cheese like Parmesan, and a sprinkle of reduce recent herbs equivalent to chives, parsley, or mint. However in case you are feeling impressed to do one thing somewhat extra difficult, Daniel’s Caraway-Yogurt Sauce or his asparagus alla Milanese and variations are nice recipes to decorate up this air-fryer asparagus. Nevertheless you select to decorate up this simple recipe, in about quarter-hour you’ll have asparagus that’s value making a scene about.

This recipe was developed by Elizabeth Mervosh; the headnote was written by Leah Colins.

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