Get the crispy delicious browned bits you find on roasted or grilled asparagus without having to heat up your oven or grill. Pan-roasted asparagus is tasty, quick, and couldn't be easier. A hot pan, a bit of oil, and a tight-fitting lid to keep in the heat and help the asparagus cook evenly are all you need (well, you'll require some asparagus too!). Enhance the nicely browned yet grassy green asparagus with a sprinkle of large-grained salt, fleur de sel, or any other fancy salt you have in the cupboard.
Looking to elevate it a bit more? Check out the variations below.
- Trim the asparagus by either snapping or peeling the spears.*
- Heat a large frying pan with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Once it's hot, add the oil. Swirl the oil in the pan to coat it.
- Add the trimmed asparagus to the pan. It should sizzle as it hits the hot surface. Cover it and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the asparagus is browned and tender, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle with salt and/or lemon juice or zest to taste. Serve hot or warm.
Want to gussy up this super-simple recipe? Here are a few ideas:
- Dollop on some thick whole milk Greek yogurt then drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil (I'd add a few grinding of freshly ground black pepper to the mix, but that's me)
- Grate on some pecorino or other hard sheep milk cheese (this is extra tasty with a bit of lemon zest as well)
- Serve with homemade aioli, a garlicky French mayonnaise or it's lightly spiced cousin, rouille
- Turn it almost into a light meal by topping the asparagus with an egg
- Serve the asparagus with a dish of ponzu sauce for dipping (it's fun to let people eat asparagus with their hands, almost as if the spears are carrot sticks)
- Scatter a platter of pan-roasted asparagus with a handful (yes, a handful) of chopped dill for a real burst of fresh spring flavor; a mix of parsley, dill, and mint is nice, too
* To snap asparagus, hold a spear at either end and bend the spear until it breaks; it will snap off at the point where it gets woody. To peel asparagus, trim off any dried ends, and use a vegetable peeler to peel the bottom half of each spear. Snapping is faster; peeling yields more edible asparagus and less waste, but definitely takes more time. For more detailed instructions see How to Trim Asparagus or How to Peel Asparagus.