|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
We all know roasting asparagus in the oven is a delicious way to cook this spring vegetable, but pan-roasting also creates flavorful, crisp-tender stalks—and keeps more of the vegetable's valuable nutrients. The asparagus is first cooked in a pan with olive oil, a little water, and garlic until the water is fully absorbed, and then left in the pan to essentially roast. The results are perfectly cooked asparagus with a bit of crispy brown on the skin and a nice tinge of garlic.
This asparagus recipe is great for a first course or as a vegetable side and is delicious garnished with shaved Parmesan cheese.
- 1 pound fresh asparagus, bottoms trimmed if necessary
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 clove garlic (peeled and cut in half)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the asparagus, olive oil, water, and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes uncovered, or until the water has almost evaporated.
Toss the asparagus with tongs, cover the pan, and cook for 1 minute. Remove the lid and toss the asparagus again. Put the lid back on and repeat until the asparagus are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. The asparagus may brown slightly in spots, which adds to the pan-roasted flavor.
Add the lemon juice and toss to combine. Remove the garlic, and taste to adjust salt and pepper. Serve hot with shaved Parmesan, if desired.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to trimming off the woody ends of an asparagus spear: the individual bend and snap, or cutting the bunch all at once using a knife. It is thought that asparagus has a natural breaking point, so if you hold the spear horizontally and gently bend it, it will snap in a certain spot. However, this is not a foolproof method, as it will depend on how dramatic the bend is, and, some cooks believe, the spear will simply break in multiple points along the shaft, creating wildly different lengths. Thus, it is better to line up the asparagus on a cutting board and simply cut the ends off all at once, looking for where the stalk begins to appear tough.
Asparagus Is Good for You
One reason you don't want to overcook asparagus (besides that it will be mushy) is that the heat will remove the vegetable's many nutrients. Asparagus is packed with vitamins including A, C, E, K, and B6 and is high in folate, protein, calcium, iron, and copper. Naturally low in fat and calories, and high in fiber—both soluble and insoluble—asparagus is a good choice if you are trying to lose weight as the fiber will keep you full between meals.
This vegetable also aids in digestion and reduces bloating, improves urinary tract health, and is full of antioxidants.