I’m counting on you

Spring came swooping in this year and crashed in our asparagus patch. The green shoots are flying up through the dirt and leaping for the sun almost faster than I can cut them.

Almost, I said. But not quite.

I’ve already skillet-fried a bunch and made a handsome dish of Korean beef with sesame-asparagus spears (served atop rice along with a runny fried egg). Then last night I tried a new recipe. It was a simple little thing, only calling for four ingredients (not counting the asparagus)—lemon juice, butter, salt, and pepper. The procedure was straightforward: after bathing the asparagus in boiling water, I drained them and then tossed them with the happy foursome. The result was both lush and sassy.

We ate the buttery-lemony asparagus alongside some pasta (shells, because that’s what we had, but spaghetti would have been better) with Alfredo sauce, but they would go well with anything—roast chicken, meatloaf, potato gnocchi, you name it.

Seeing as we’re at the forefront of an asparagus onslaught, I’d be interested to hear about your favorite ways for cooking these sprightly dudes (because, as we all know, they are most definitely dudes).

Go on, now. Do tell! I’m counting on you to help get me through.

Asparagus with Lemon and Butter
Adapted from the April 2004 issue of Gourmet magazine

The recipe calls for four pounds of asparagus, but I didn’t measure mine. I probably used more like two pounds—thus the fluctuation in poundage.

For a slight change of pace, try browning the butter.

Got leftovers? Add them to a frittata , quiche, or stir fry.

2-4 pounds fresh asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cook the asparagus in boiling, salted water for 5-7 minutes, or until it is just starting to get tender. Do not overcook it! My asparagus is never uniform—it ranges from squat and porky to willowy-wispy. I remedy this situation by adding the thicker stalks to the boiling water first and then the medium-sized shoots. I save the skinniest ones till the very end.

When the asparagus is done, drain and return it to the kettle (or serving bowl). Add the seasonings and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

About one year ago: Cream of Tomato Soup.


  • For My Boys

    It's really close to bulgogi… Didn't know you were experimenting w/Korean dishes. I make Korean food, but it never tastes as good as mom.~Betsy

  • Margo

    oh yum! We had our first asparagus the other day. I think it's SO versatile – we roast it, puree it in soups, steam it, or saute it. My husband's favorite is steamed or roasted on top of pasta with a runny egg and parmesan on top.
    Did you ever try the sugared asparagus in Simply in Season? I can't decide if that looks good or a waste of asparagus.
    I'd like to see a recipe for your Korean dish – that sounds unusual and good.

  • Anonymous

    Saute a chopped clove of garlic in sesame oil for just a minute; add asparagus, 2 T soy sauce and 2 t sugar. Yes, high in sodium and sugar. Also a good method for broccoli or green beans when the usual recipe gets boring.

    But we usually eat ours raw. Snap, munch. (watch out for asparagus beetles and eggs)

  • Kris

    My mom got us all to eat asparagus by serving it in a cheese sauce on toast. Back then I liked the cheese part the best, but now I pack in as many pieces of asparagus on my toast as it will hold.

  • Jennifer Jo

    KTdid, Do you remember the conversation you and my mother had over those escargot you were fixing, back when I was about twelve years old? Apparently you haven't changed much!

    Robyn, Great idea. Couple questions: how much bacon per stalk? What temp and for how long?

  • Anonymous

    I love asparagus!! Grilled, boiled, chopped up in quiche…. but my favorite is to roast it in the oven wrapped in proscitto with a drizzle of olive oil and a little kosher salt and lemon pepper!! MMMmmmmmmm Also saw a recipie the other day to wrap it in bacon… how can that not be fabulous? Robyn

  • You Can Call Me Jane

    Occasionally, we chop some almost-roasted asparagus in a quiche, but mostly we saute it in a little butter and sprinkle it with salt. We're going to have more this year than most, so I'm going to force myself to try a few different things with it. Those recipes better be good. I'll be peeved if I feel like I've wasted some of our green-gold. I'll try to remember to report back with my findings.

  • KTdid

    Yep! The asparagus spears are most definitely dudes…by the same token, those little pasta shells are most definitely dames (look at them)! My favorite way to prepare: brush with oil or melted butter and place on a cookie sheet, roast in the oven for 10 or 15 minutes. Ooo, those little boys are good!

  • Anonymous

    lightly dress whole spears with olive oil and cook on the grill just until crisp tender. sprinkle with Kosher salt.
    The only way we all happily eat it.


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