What Do They Eat? - Pan Steamed Asparagus

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I have an assortment of interesting friends and Zandy Mangold is probably one of the hardest working and most diversified in regards to all the "hats" he wears.  He's a photographer, a baker (he has been affectionately called a Keebler Elf!), a drummer in a band called Manana Couch, and an avid ultra marathon runner.  When Zandy isn't shooting for the New York Post, he is running (literally) hundreds of miles.  In 2012 Zandy placed 4th in one of the most grueling foot races on the planet -- the seven day, self-supported, 150 mile "Atacama Crossing" in Chile.  He's currently training for his next race that will take place in 2014.  
*If you'd like to hear Zandy speak about his experience he will be giving a stage race presentation in Manhattan at Jack Rabbit Sports, May 28th, 6:30 pm.  In addition to a slide show of Zandy's ultra marathon photos from around the world there will be nutrition samples and give aways! 
photo taken by Thiago Diz
Lucky for me, Zandy squeezed me into his busy schedule for a lunch date a few Sunday's back.  Zandy is fun to be around in and out of the kitchen because he has a relaxed ease about him.  His theme song might be, "Easy Like Sunday Morning" by Lionel Richie, if he had one...

Q&A with Zandy:

What is an ultra marathon?
An ultra marathon is generally considered to be a any race over 26.2 miles.  Some races are broken into stages, others are nonstop.  

How do you train for these races?
For races I train with a weighted backpack in order to simulate carrying gear and food during the actual race.  A pack weighs about 17 lbs at the start.

How important is eating healthy for you?
My motivation for eating healthy started when I became serious about training for ultra marathons and recovering from my workouts.  I've experimented with different types of diets, vegetarian, Paleo, etc.  I've found, that for me, I have higher performance levels, energy and muscle recovery when I eat a diet of fresh vegetables, fruit, and a little animal protein.

Why do you like cooking with asparagus?
I have fond memories of my parents trying to grow asparagus up in New Hampshire.  We would all get excited in the Spring when the small but tasty harvest would arise from the soil.  My grandmother always spoke fondly of the thick, white asparagus she ate living in Germany.   Asparagus reminds me of my family. 

Why do you like preparing this recipe?
I love the combination of textures, cooking the asparagus al denté with the silkiness of the egg yolk on top.  I like the color contrasts from the yellow of the yolk, the bright green asparagus and the brown singed edges of the egg whites.  The touch of soy sauce steamed with the asparagus and then the squeeze of lemon, Parm and parsley at the end really give this a nice flavor profile.  It's super quick and easy to make but has a plethora of fresh flavors.
Facts about Asparagus:
  • Asparagus has a unique combination of ANTI-inflammatory nutrients.  Excessive inflammation is the number one culprit in chronic diseases including type II diabetes and heart disease.
  • This vegetable provides a wide variety of antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and the minerals zinc, manganese, and selenium.
  • Asparagus contains a good amount of the nutrient inulin which aids in digestion.  It becomes the ideal food for certain types bacteria in our gut that equates to better nutrient absorption.
  •  It also contains a good amount of fiber and protein which helps stabilize our digestion and keeps food moving through us at a desirable rate.
This recipe is straight from the kitchen of Zandy Mangold.  It can be prepared as a quick "on the go" lunch, brunch or side dish.  It's equally delicious served chilled in it's cooking juices.  Just add a spritz of lemon and serve!

  • 1 bunch asparagus, washed
  • 2 tsp coconut or olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp water 
  • 1 tsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1-2 eggs (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 
  • salt and pepper

  1. Peel, cut off, and discard the ends of the asparagus spears.  
  2. Use a medium to large frying pan to pan steam the asparagus on your stove top.  Set your stove top to medium high, add 1tsp of coconut oil to the pan just until it's heated then place the asparagus in the pan.  Give the pan a shake to move the asparagus around and coat with the oil for about 1 minute then add the water and soy sauce and cover with a lid.  Keep the lid on, turn down the heat to medium, and let the asparagus steam for another 2 - 3 minutes.  Once you feel your asparagus is cooked to your liking remove it from the pan onto a platter (with the cooking juices), and set aside.  
  3. Add 1 tsp of coconut oil to the same frying pan on medium heat.  Let the oil melt and spread around then add the eggs.  Cook for about 5 - 7 minutes for sunny side up eggs or to your liking.
  4. Remove the eggs from the pan, place them directly on top of the asparagus, add a sprinkle of salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and parsley.  Garnish with lemon and ENJOY!

+The benefits of eating EGGS here.    
Source: WH Foods


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