Tender Asparagus

Tender Asparagus

The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 4 servings

There's nothing like the first bite of asparagus in spring. This classic seasonal vegetable, with its sweet yet slightly bitter taste, is fresh and delicious no matter how it is prepared.

For a quick and easy vegetable side, simmer the asparagus stalks for a few short minutes and then toss with melted butter. Ready in 10 minutes, it couldn't be easier. Note that the cook time will vary depending on the size of your veggies. Asparagus can range in size from super thin to super thick stalks. Start checking really thin stalks after just a minute of simmering.

This side dish recipe doesn't need any other seasoning, although you could add some fresh thyme or dill if you'd like. Make sure that the asparagus is fresh. When you buy it, it should be firm, with no soft or wet spots. The tips should be tightly closed with no flowers showing.

Serve asparagus as a side dish to ham, steak, chicken breasts, and more. It pairs nicely with potato dishes like mashed potatoes or scalloped potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Tender Asparagus ingredients

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  2. Wash the asparagus under cool running water and trim the ends by snapping them where they break easily. The asparagus will break at the point between the tender tips and the tougher ends.

    asparagus will break at the point between the tender tips and the tougher ends

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  3. Place the asparagus ​in a wide shallow saucepan and cover with cold water by 1/2 inch. Heat over high heat and bring to a boil.

    Place the asparagus ​in a wide shallow saucepan

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  4. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes or until asparagus is bright green and just crisp-tender.

    Asparagus cooking in saucepan

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  5. Drain thoroughly and return to the pan. Add the butter.

    Asparagus cooking in a saucepan with butter

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  6. Heat over low heat just until the butter melts and coats the asparagus.

    butter and asparagus in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

    Tender Asparagus in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

Recipe Variations

  • Chop the asparagus and use it to top risotto, pasta, pizza, or as a filling for quiche or an omelet.
  • Cool, chop, and add to a spring salad.
  • Leftover asparagus can be whizzed into a creamy asparagus soup.
  • Top with a sprinkle of fresh thyme, parsley, or dill.
  • To dress up this side dish, top with an onion and lemon pan sauce or a decadent homemade hollandaise sauce.