Get the crispy delicious browned bits you find on roasted or grilled asparagus without having to heat up your oven or grill with pan-roasting. Pan-roasted asparagus is tasty and quick, and it 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.
- 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.
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; top is all with a few grinding of freshly ground black pepper and/or a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper flakes.
- Grate on some pecorino or other hard sheep milk cheese, then sprinkle everything with a bit of finely grated or microplaned lemon zest.
- Serve with homemade aioli, a garlicky French mayonnaise. A spritz or two of lemon juice on top wouldn't be out of order, either.
- Turn it almost into a light meal by topping the asparagus with a poached 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 were 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.