I absolutely love asparagus! Whether is it is slow simmered in a seasoned butter sauce or roasted, asparagus is such colorful and tasty veggie! And it’s good for you, too. And did I mention how tasty and how much I love it? One of the quickest and easiest vegetable side dishes to make, asparagus is the perfect side for almost every meal.
It helps when purchasing to pick asparagus with thinner stalks and avoid those that are fatter. Try to find a bunch with uniform, equally sized thin stalks so they cook at the same equal rate.
I always purchase the day before and soak them in a large mixing bowl of water with 1 tablespoon lemon juice concentrate for about thirty minutes to an hour then drain them on paper towels. After a little while I’ll pat them dry a with a fresh paper towel and transfer them to dry paper towels in a single unstacked layer spaced apart so not touching to finish air drying overnight until I’m ready to prepare them the next day.
Asparagus is quick and easy to prepare. If watching your salt intake, cholesterol, waist line, or short on time then roasted is best. Otherwise, there is the option of simmering in a rich seasoned butter sauce.
It doesn’t take long to roast asparagus so you’ll want to start preparing it when the rest of your planned meal is closer to being done.
First preheat your oven to 450 F and put a sheet pan in the oven to preheat.
Then you’ll want to start by trimming away the ends which tend to be woody and unchewable. Again, it helps when purchasing to pick asparagus with thinner stalks and avoid those that are fatter because the fatter they are the more likely they are to be woody. Try to find a bunch with uniform, equally sized thin stalks so they cook at the same equal rate. It is best to trim the ends before preparing rather than the day before to prevent ends from drying out and to keep them fresh.
Next, whisk your seasonings and olive oil together. Optionally you can add lemon juice or zest as well.
Place your asparagus on a cutting board or in a 13 x 9 pan or dish and drizzle with the seasoned olive oil. Gently toss to coat.
Remove your preheated sheet pan from the oven and place a line of asparagus across it in a single layer. It is okay if they touching as long as you aren’t jamming them tightly together or overlapping them. You may want to use tongs since the pan is going to be very, very hot.
Then slide your pan of asparagus into the oven and bake for about 7 minutes or just until tender. It may take a little more or less time depending upon the thickness or thinness of the stalks.
For asparagus prepared in a rich seasoned butter sauce:
Melt 3 tablespoons of salted butter (or unsalted butter and add 1/4 tsp salt) in a skillet (use one with a lid), stir in the seasonings (including the 1/4 tsp salt) and optionally you can add your choice of 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice or 1/4 tsp lemon juice concentrate or 1/2 tsp lemon zest.
Then roll/move your asparagus around in it to coat well on all sides.
After that arrange the asparagus so rests flat in a single side by side layer.
Dot the top of your asparagus with dollops of additional butter, cover, reduce heat and allow to simmer for five minutes; then turn asparagus over.
Continue to simmer until nice and tender which takes another 5 to 10 minutes.
Since it takes longer than oven roasting so you’ll want to get it started a little earlier so it can simmer while the rest of the meal is being prepared.
Tam's Herbed Asparagus
- 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- a pinch of rubbed sage
- 4 Tbsp olive oil for roasting or 4 to 5 Tbsp salted butter for simmering
- a small lemon for juicing and zest (grated peel) and/or concentrated lemon juice, optional
To roast: (healthier choice)
Preheat oven 450 degrees and preheat a sheet pan. Whisk seasonings and olive oil together. Drizzle, brush, toss, or rub asparagus with seasoned olive oil. Place the asparagus on the hot sheet pan in a single unstacked layer. Roast the asparagus for about 7 minutes or just until tender.
To simmer in butter sauce: (decadent choice)
Melt 3 tbsp butter in skillet and stir in seasonings. Coat asparagus then arrange in single layer and dot with remaining butter. Cover with lid, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Turn asparagus over, cover, and simmer another 5 to 10 minutes or just until tender. Note: Use salted butter. If butter is unsalted add 1/4 tsp salt to the melted butter in addition to the salt in the listed seasonings (for a total of 1/2 tsp salt).
If using lemon zest (grated peel) or fresh lemon juice add 1/2 tsp to olive oil or melted butter. If using lemon juice concentrate then add 1/4 tsp. Optional