MADISON, CONN. - SEPTEMBER 1: Jacques Pépin poses for a portrait at his home kitchen in Madison, Connecticut on September 1, 2022. His 14th book, Jacques Pépin Art Of The Chicken: A Master Chef's Recipes and Stories of the Humble Bird, featuring his watercolors of the bird, will be published in late September. (Photo by Yehyun Kim for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Jacques Pépin's Brilliant Trick To Get The Most Out Of Asparagus Stalks
By Betsy Parks
Saving money and the environment can actually be easy when cooking, and a great example to follow is French chef Jacques Pepin, who was mindful of food waste way before it was cool. One of the many ways that Pépin saves money and avoids food waste is by using asparagus stems.
Rather than chop or snap off half your asparagus, Pépin says in his cookbook, “A Grandfather’s Lessons: In the Kitchen with Shorey,” that you don't need to throw all that good asparagus flavor away. Instead, use a peeler to remove the tougher skin on the outside of the lower part of your spears, leaving the tender interior behind for cooking.
To peel your asparagus spears, make sure you keep them intact (no chopping or snapping), and hold them on a flat surface like a countertop or cutting board with one hand. Gently peel the lower half of the asparagus on all sides by peeling downward toward the bottom of the stalk.
The very bottom of the stalk will still be pretty woody, so after you’ve finished peeling your pieces, trim off the bottom half inch. As a bonus, you can also use the ends and peels to make asparagus soup or combine it with your vegetable scraps to make veggie stock.