I know, I know. Asparagus is a spring vegetable. Having just passed Autumn Equinox, I’m aware that we’re now in the opposite of spring. Still, when I saw a beautiful bundle of pencil-thin organic asparagus at my favorite local grocery, I had to nab it. Not only was it beautiful, but it was also their last bundle. And thin asparagus is just so elegant.
I love roasting veggies. Roasting concentrates the flavors and caramelizes them. But pencil-thin asparagus needs a different treatment. Roasting tends to shrink veggies. When you roast thin asparagus it almost disappears.
So instead, I decided to lightly boil it and then add some extras after it was finished. Since I have an abundance of fresh basil in my garden, that’s what I chose. (In retrospect, I feel I should have used opal basil, just for the presentation, but oh well.) You could also use other herbs such as tarragon or Italian parsley. At any rate, it was a quick and easy, and very tasty, side dish.
I dressed it with ghee after it was cooked, but if you want the recipe to be totally vegan, you can use a good olive oil instead.
Meatless Monday: Pan-Boiled Asparagus with Fresh Herbs
- 1 lb. fresh asparagus
- 2-3 tablespoons butter, ghee or olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade cut
- salt and pepper
- Heat water in a wide skillet to boiling.
- When the water boils, add the asparagus, placing them in the skillet so that all the tips face the same direction.
- Boil for 6-12 minutes. If the asparagus is thin, go for the shorter time. Pierce a spear with a fork occasionally to check for doneness. It should be slightly crispy. Make sure you pull the asparagus out of the skillet before it becomes limp and slimy!
- Remove the asparagus when done and place on a serving plate in a single layer.
- While the asparagus is still hot, spread some ghee, butter or olive oil over it. Add some salt and pepper, and then sprinkle fresh herbs on top.