Our simple skillet asparagus recipe can easily become your favorite way to prepare the green spears on the stove.
Go straight to the Recipe Card or
Read on for a few relevant tips and a step-by-step demonstration (1 min)
The Best Way to Cook Asparagus
If you define the perfectly prepared asparagus as vibrant, tender, yet still crisp and blissfully flavorful with an appetizing blistered surface, then our simple recipe is very likely the best way to cook it.
It is easy to master, fast to execute and always delivers. The results go beyond what a straight forward saute or classic steaming can do. Our method both lightly chars and blisters the surface (think flavor) and uses steam to cook the spears through while bringing out their beautiful color (think perfect texture and visual appeal).
All that in just a few minutes.
You Will Need
- Heavy bottomed skillet. You need a skillet that heats evenly such as a cast iron, whether enameled or classic.
- Potato/vegetable peeler. To remove the fibrous outer layer of the spears.
- Asparagus spears. About twelve ounces to serve four as a side. Thicker, plump stems work much better than the thin pencil ones. You can also make this side dish with white asparagus, no alterations to the method.
- Olive oil. To blister the asparagus spears with.
- Salt & pepper and garlic powder. For basic seasoning while the spears are cooking. Don’t use too much of the garlic powder as it burns easily.
- Water. To briefly steam the asparagus once you’ve seared it.
Workflow – How to Prepare Asparagus
Before you get to actually cooking the asparagus there are two simple steps of preparatory work.
- Cut off the woody, fibrous bottoms of the stalks. Go as far up as needed, usually about a fifth to a fourth of the total length.
- Use a vegetable peeler to gently peel off the skin between the actual spears and the bottom. Do so lightly without unnecessarily digging into the flesh. Removing the high-fiber content skin exposes the flesh and makes the asparagus much easier to cook.
- Set the trimmed and peeled asparagus aside.
Workflow – How to Pan Fry Asparagus
- Heat skillet. Over medium-high heat place a pan and let it heat for about 2-3 minutes.
- Sear/blister the spears. Add olive oil and the prepped asparagus and move around until each spear finds its place and is in contact with the pan surface. You can go for a minimal sear, a good blistering or even a slight char, depending on your preference. Pan fry to your liking.
- Season. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste, turn the stalks around to get evenly blistered on all sides.
- Steam. Once seared/blistered add water and let it steam away. You may turn the stalks once or twice while the water is evaporating. The color will get really vibrant.
Serve Pan Fried Asparagus
- Serve the asparagus family style straight out of the cast iron skillet – it is already seasoned with the salt, pepper and garlic powder mixture.
- Try it with a dusting of Parmesan and red pepper flakes (shown above).
- Toss with a tablespoon of your favorite Asian sauce – sweet chili, black bean, lemon grass paste etc.
- Drizzle with melted preserved lemon compound butter, lemon cream sauce or Hollandaise.
Other Recipes You Might Enjoy
- 12 oz thick asparagus spears (green or white both work)
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
- 3 tbsp water
1. To prepare the asparagus cut off the woody, fibrous end of the stalks. Trim away about a fifth to a fourth of the total length. Using a vegetable peeler gently peel off the skin between the actual spears and the trimmed ends. Be careful to not dig into the flesh too much as you peel.
2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 2-3 minutes. Add the olive oil and the trimmed and peeled spears. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Move around with tongues so that each spear makes contact with the hot skillet's surface. Let sear for a minute or two (you can go for a gentle sear, a blister and even a slight char to maximize flavor).
3. Once seared/blistered to your satisfaction add the water. It will start steaming instantly. Let it steam around the asparagus until almost all of it has evaporated. You may turn the asparagus once or twice while the water is evaporating. The color will become very vibrant. Remove from the heat and serve.*
*The asparagus will be nicely seasoned with basic flavors. If you would like to introduce even more flavor after you are done cooking it consider sprinkling grated Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes etc. or toss in a tablespoon of your favorite Asian sauce (ex. sweet chili, lemongrass etc). Lemon flavored cream sauces or compound butters are also great drizzled over the cooked spears.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 67Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 158mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g