National Women's Nutrition Week is April 13-19, and Every Day with Rachael Ray editors have prepared four delicious seasonal meals featuring the female-disease-fighting super food, asparagus. Be sure to pick up your copy of Every Day with Rachael Ray for more delectable spring and summer recipes. The May issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray hits newsstands on April 15.

Asparagus is a rite of spring
(even though it is often available year-round!). Best yet, asparagus is one of the best foods to help fight diseases that affect women. Like other leafy greens, asparagus is especially rich in folic acid, which has been linked to prevention of cervical cancer and helps prevent birth defects. Asparagus has also been shown to reduce cholesterol, which helps fight heart disease, the leading killer of women.

How to choose and prepare asparagus

Choose firm, bright green stalks with tight tips. Store upright in a glass filled with an inch of water. Snap off the woody ends – they will break off naturally. Rinse to remove any grit, especially around the tips. Peel tough parts of the stem using a vegetable peeler.

Asparagus Popover

Servings: 4
asparagusPrep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes


1 pound asparagus
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper
Pinch sugar
3 ounces Gruyere or Swiss cheese, shredded (1 cup loosely packed)


1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, add enough salted water to reach a depth of 2 inches and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Cut the spears crosswise into thirds.


2. In a medium cast-iron skillet, add the butter. Place the skillet in the oven to melt the butter.


3. In a medium bowl, microwave the milk on high for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the eggs, then the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the sugar.


4. Add the asparagus pieces to the hot cast-iron skillet and pour the batter on top. Sprinkle with half of the cheese and bake until puffed golden-brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese.

Beef and Asparagus Roll-Ups

Servings: 4
beef-asparagusPrep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes


1 pound asparagus
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 pound mixed mushrooms, stemmed
Salt and pepper
One 1 1/2-pound piece center-cut beef fillet
6 ounces Brie or goat cheese
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves


1. In a large saucepan, add enough salted water to reach a depth of 2 inches and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels.


2. In a nonstick medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Cover to keep warm.


3. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Cut the beef crosswise into 4 equal portions and pound 1/3-inch thick. Season with salt and pepper, then spread a quarter of the cheese in the center of each portion, leaving a 3/4-inch border.


4. Divide the thyme and asparagus equally among each portion. Drizzle each with a teaspoon of olive oil, roll up the meat around the asparagus and secure with toothpicks.


5. Pour the remaining olive oil on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Turn each beef roll in the oil to coat, cover and grill until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes for medium-rare.


6. To serve, divide the mushrooms among 4 plates and top each with a beef-asparagus roll.

Asparagus Tempura

Servings: 6
tempura-asparagusPrep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes


1/4 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
4 cups vegetable oil
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup sesame seeds (optional)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup seltzer, at room temperature
1 pound asparagus


1. In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard and honey.


2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until the temperature registers at 375 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.


3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, sesame seeds, salt and baking soda. Whisk in the seltzer until smooth.


4. Add the asparagus to the batter and turn to coat. Transferring one piece at a time, add about one-quarter of the asparagus to the hot oil and cook, turning, until golden and crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining asparagus, allowing the oil to return to 374 degrees between batches. Serve hot with dipping sauce.

Creamy Crab and Asparagus Salad

Servings: 4
crab-asparagusPrep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes


1 1/2 pound asparagus, quartered crosswise on an angle
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
1 1/2 teaspoons ketchup
One 8-ounce container lump crab, picked through


1. Rinse the asparagus in a colander and leave wet. In a medium nonstick skillet, add the olive oil and asparagus and cook over medium heat until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


2. In a medium bowl, stir together chives, mayonnaise, lemon juice and ketchup. Add the crab and toss gently to coat. Season with pepper.


3. Divide the asparagus among 4 plates and top with a mound of crab mixture. Serve with the lemon wedges.

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rePAULsive July 11, 2008 | 10:05 PM

Are you out of your mind? Rachel Ray has been shoveling a little more than asparagus in her pie hole! And laughing her chubby fat cheeks all the way EVERYTHING she cooks is GROSS... EVERYTHING

Shelly B April 29, 2008 | 4:46 AM

Asparagus is my favorite spring time vegetable. I especially love roasting it and layering it in my egg salad sandwiches. It beats lettuce "everyday".

Linda Hayes April 16, 2008 | 3:18 PM

I love Rachael Ray. Leave it to her to come up tempura asparagus!

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