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Ribboning Instantly Upgrades Asparagus

Asparagus is delectable whether roasted, steamed, blanched, or in one of our favorite preparations: raw and ribboned. Remove heat from the equation, and asparagus's true nature shines, tasting grassier, lighter, and crisp. Moreover, willowy ribbons are visually pleasing, an important consideration, as — let's face it — we all eat with our eyes first.

Thankfully, this elegant preparation is extremely simple, and requires naught but a very sharp vegetable peeler and a small amount of patience for prep work. To begin, rinse the asparagus stalks and snap off their woody, desiccated ends.

To make the ribbons, dig the peeler into the base end (rather than the tip) of a stalk of asparagus and run it from end to end, keeping even pressure on the stalk. Repeat — you should be able to get four to six ribbons per stalk, depending on its thickness. Keep in mind that the first and last swipes may not come out as cleanly as the rest, and can either be enjoyed as a cook's snack, or tossed in with the rest if aesthetics are not quite as important.

Add the asparagus ribbons to salads — or base a salad around a tangle of them — enjoy them as a novel pizza topping, or nestle them atop toast slathered with hummus, a drizzle of olive oil, and sun-dried tomatoes for a light snack.

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