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Stalk up

For a dose of anti-inflammatory nutrients and vitamins A, B and C, try this fun-to-serve veggie.
Try this quick appetizer recipe and stalk up. Some thing to dip your tips into, this four-ingredient dressing is a cool way to kick up veggies.

Asparagus with Horseradish Dip

Steam 32 trimmed fresh asparagus spears for 2-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and immediately place in ice water. Drain and pat dry.
Combine: 1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Serve with asparagus.
Yield: 16 appetizers
Asparagus Tips

• Use asparagus within a few days of purchase.

• Look for firm, straight, uniform-size spears with closed tips and crisp stalks.

• To clean, soak in cold water, then cut or snap off the tough whitish portion.

• For longer storage, place bundled stalks upright in a bowl filled with one inch of water and refrigerate, or wrap the cut ends with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

• To freeze, blanch for two to four minutes and freeze for up to one year.

• Varieties of asparagus include green, purple and white. Purple asparagus is slightly sweeter and more tender; good for salads. White asparagus is grown underground and is common in European cuisines.

Selection: Peak season is February through June, pencil-thin spears are plentiful. Later, the spears generally become thicker and aren’t as tender when cooked. Stalks that are too thick can be tough and somewhat bitter.
Southern Living Test Kitchen Secret: It is best to remove the tough ends of asparagus spears before cooking. The easiest way to do this is to bend each end until it snaps. It will snap where the most tender part begins.

Susan Woody has been a food writer for more than 20 years and is a member of the Association of Food Journalists.

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