A classic combination, seasoned with chilli and paprika
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Asparagus is a good source of betacarotene, which has antioxidant properties, folic acid and vitamin C. It is low in calories, just 24 per 100g, and high in fibre. It also contains vitamin B9, which is good to eat if you are planning a baby as lack of this vitamin can increase the risk of spina bifida.
Preparing and cooking asparagus
Rinse spears. Hold one at each end, then bend – it will break where the tough woody stem meets the edible tip. If serving asparagus for dipping, there's no need to snap off the end as it makes a convenient handle. The best way to cook the spears is in about 5cm of boiling water in a wide, deep sauté pan. Green asparagus will take 3-5 minutes, depending on its thickness. Test by piercing a spear with the point of a knife – when cooked it will just slide in easily.