Martha Stewart's Wiggle Test To Check The Doneness Of Asparagus

Asparagus, with its vibrant green stalks and earthy flavor, is a vegetable that deserves to be cooked to perfection. Whether you're a seasoned chef or a home cook looking to elevate your asparagus game, Martha Stewart has a simple yet effective tip to determine when these tender spears are done cooking — the "asparagus wiggle."

Martha Stewart, the queen of culinary wisdom, suggests using the "asparagus wiggle" to gauge the doneness of this versatile vegetable. Asparagus, when perfectly cooked, should have a slight give or bend to it, unlike its rigid, raw state. So, when you pick up a spear and give it a gentle wiggle, it should flex gracefully, indicating that it's ready to be enjoyed. There are other cues you can look for, of course. Cooked asparagus should retain its vibrant green hue. If it starts to turn drab or olive in color, it may be overcooked. Perfectly cooked asparagus should be tender enough to enjoy without a fight, but still have a pleasing crispness to it. It should not be mushy or too soft. 

Whether you prefer thick or thin asparagus spears, aim for uniformity in thickness to ensure even cooking. Thicker spears may require a little more time on the heat, while thinner varieties will cook faster. If you're unsure about the doneness, use the knife test. Insert a knife or fork into the thickest part of the spear. It should slide in easily but still offer some resistance.

Tips to avoid overcooking asparagus

Asparagus cooks relatively quickly, usually in as little as three to five minutes. But to avoid overcooking, there are plenty of tips you can use to ensure you end up with perfectly prepared asparagus, such as setting a timer. For a more precise control of doneness and to lock in that vibrant color, consider blanching your asparagus briefly in boiling water, then immediately plunging it into ice water to halt the cooking process. Sauteing or roasting asparagus can provide more control over the cooking time and enhance its natural flavors. Just remember to watch for the wiggle and other cues mentioned above.

So, Martha Stewart's "asparagus wiggle" trick is a simple yet effective method for ensuring your asparagus is cooked to perfection. When the spears are flexible without being flimsy, you can be confident that you're about to savor the ideal balance of tenderness and crispness. By paying attention to these signs and avoiding common pitfalls of overcooking, you'll consistently enjoy asparagus that's a delightful addition to any meal.