Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables of the season. I enjoy it’s texture and during this busy time of year… the simplicity in cooking it.
It’s bright green stalks are stunning and the mere fact that they are a perennial and grow year after year makes me anxious to start my own asparagus patch. Make sure to take advantage of wild asparagus and forage for your own as soon they’ll be growing in ditches throughout country roads.
One thing to note about asparagus is that it’s not necessary to buy them “organic.” They make the clean 15 list. However, I’d encourage you to buy them locally from your farmers market.
There’s nothing easier than making a side dish of sauteed asparagus. There are many different renditions and flavors that you can create by simply adding a few fresh herbs an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar, garlic or onion and sauteing them in a natural fat such as extra virgin olive oil or butter.
Within a few minutes you’ll be enjoying it’s fresh and tender but firm bite. Sauteed Asparagus pairs beautifully with chicken, fish and when running low on time, farm fresh eggs.
When prepping asparagus all you need to do is rinse them off and discard the woody bottom ends of the stalk. You can either feel for the tougher ends near the bottom and cut them using a knife or you can “snap” them off.
To snap them off, lightly bend the asparagus near the bottom inch of the stalk. When you feel the natural bend… “snap.”
Some people would rather cut them by just feeling for the tougher ends as they feel the “snap” method seems to waste more of the edible stalk.
Tips for creating Simple, Seasonal Sauteed Asparagus
- Saute asparagus in a natural fat such as extra virgin olive oil or butter
- Once the oil has come to temperature it only takes 5-8 minutes to cook through. You want a tender but firm bite, not mushy and soggy.
- To give it additional flavor, add a fresh herb such as tarragon, thyme or marjoram.
- To brighten, add an acid of lemon juice or vinegar. Such as red wine or balsamic.
- If you want more depth add garlic or onion.
- Always finish with a sprinkle of large granule sea salt.
As you can see, the variations you can create are endless. From something as simple as asparagus sauteed in olive oil with garlic or as in the recipe below, asparagus sauteed in butter with fresh tarragon and lemon.
Sauteed Asparagus with Fresh Tarragon and Lemon
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces
- 2 tbls butter
- 1 tbls freshly cut tarragon
- 2 tbls freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Large granule sea salt to season
1. In a large cast iron skillet add 2 tbls butter. Saute the asparagus for 5-8 minutes until tender but firm to the bite.
2. Add tarragon and lemon juice and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes.
3. Sprinkle with kosher sea salt and garnish with freshly grated manchego cheese.
Sauteed asparagus is an easy and wonderful way to use seasonal asparagus.
What is your favorite way to saute asparagus?
Also, if you haven’t signed up for the new Spain in Iowa, Gardening, Cooking Preserving, eating through the seasons, newsletter, please do! My first edition went out today. Highlighted are various early spring recipes throughout the web, gardening and a lacto-fermented preserve using asparagus. Sign up using the form below!