This is a recipe I picked up a while back from everydayfrenchchef.com. It’s one of those recipes that you read, tell yourself “how simple” and file away, believing that the best way to serve asparagus is steamed with some sort of sauce such as Hollandaise. And then one day, you pull it out and cook it up. Much to your surprise, it’s not only wonderfully delicious, your non-asparagus eater wants seconds.
The key to imparting a slightly smoky flavor to the asparagus is time – time to allow the tips to char just a bit. The first time I made these asparagus, it was difficult to resist the temptation to remove the asparagus from the hot pan before they began to brown. Believe me, you want that little bit of charring – the flavor is unlike that of steamed asparagus.
Smoky Pan Seared Asparagus
1 lb green asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon Basil olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
juice of 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the asparagus and trim off the ends, leaving spears about 8 inches long.
In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and butter to sizzling. Turn down the heat to medium and add the asparagus.
Using a broad spatula, turn the spears over from time to time until they are browned more or less evenly, about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus. The spears will remain mainly green, with patches of crispy brown. Check for doneness by tasting a spear. It should be tender but slightly al dente.
Sprinkle the asparagus with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and transfer to a serving platter or individual plates.