The Absolute Best Way to Prep Asparagus, According to Legendary Chef Jacques Pépin

Nothing signals spring quite like asparagus. The tender flavor and bright green color are a welcome change up from all the hearty root veggies of wintertime. And Jacques Pépin, a true legend in the cooking world, knows a bit about perfecting this springtime veg.

In our search for great spring vegetable dishes to serve for Easter, we ran across a video of Pépin making a simple asparagus dish with a butter sauce. The recipe looked incredible, but the way he prepped his asparagus also caught our eye. We wanted to test out the tip and see if the online chatter was warranted, but also had a few questions for the man himself. We reached out to Pépin to discuss all things asparagus (including this cool tip). Here's what you need to know.

Related: 60 All-Star Asparagus Recipes to Work Into Your Recipe Rotation

How can people pick the best asparagus at the market and what's the best way to store it until you're ready to cook it?

"For the best asparagus, I try to get the thickest possible asparagus, very firm, especially with a tight head like the bud of a flower, rather than open, which would indicate that it is older. Take a wet paper towel and wrap it around the bottom part of the asparagus so that it stays wet, then put it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator."

Asparagus on cutting board<p>Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel</p>
Asparagus on cutting board

Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel

What's the best way to prep and cut asparagus?

"To prepare the asparagus, I peel about a third of the lower part of the asparagus with a vegetable peeler. The end is trimmed so that you can eat it at that point; the trimmed lower part of the asparagus is just as tender as the top part of it. You can do it with a vegetable peeler which is easier, or you can do it with a knife, but it is a bit harder to do with a knife. "

Peeling the lower third of an asparagus spear<p>Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel</p>
Peeling the lower third of an asparagus spear

Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel

Related: 16 of the Best Asparagus Side Dishes for Easter That Go Perfect with the Holiday Ham

What's the difference between white, green and purple asparagus?

"I don't see much difference between the green asparagus and purple, but the white asparagus is usually tougher, there is more trimming to be done, they do cook longer and the taste is quite different (also FYI you can eat asparagus raw, such as in a shaved asparagus salad)."

What I thought of Jacques Pépin's asparagus tip

I was always taught that snapping my asparagus at the bottom was the way to go, but as I've learned, that's not necessary anymore. I love asparagus and would rather eat more of it than throw it away (also, food waste), so I was excited to try out Jacques' tip.

My biggest takeaway from this tip is to make sure you're choosing larger asparagus spears (the peak time is April/May) since it'll make this tip much easier to master. Also, make sure that the veggie peeler you're using is super sharp. I was able to peel a few spears at a time by rolling a bunch on my cutting board a quarter turn at a time, which was a great time saver and better (in my opinion) than doing it one spear at a time.

Finished bowl of asparagus in butter sauce<p>Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel</p>
Finished bowl of asparagus in butter sauce

Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel

Related: I'm Only Making Jacques Pépin's French-Style Deviled Eggs From Now On