Every Spring it seems I find a new way to get stuck on cooking asparagus. It is our favorite vegetable and dare I say we rarely tire of it. ShopRite has great prices on the cleansing, nutrient-rich, green stalks right now so I suggest you hop to it and get yourself a bunch.
For ages, I slid a slew of asparagus, snipped of rough ends, and doused with olive oil, salt and pepper, into the hot oven on a sheet pan for 15 minutes. That was fine for awhile. Then my asparagus had a reinvention period under the broiler, and I often do a simple blanch and shock when what accompanies the asparagus is more on the rich side. But I started this pan-roasting once when the oven was on and my cast iron skillet had just been used, and keep returning to it. What I like is the efficiency. Oh, and the taste-like it was grilled. Lightly charred, well-seasoned and tender, like a piece of meat…only not.
The pan-roast is great method for giving the vegetable a space of its own as a stylish side. After a few minutes of searing on the stovetop in an oven-proof skillet, you transfer to the oven for another few minutes and viola, restaurant-y asparagus. Another bonus: your hands don’t get dirty. You shake the washed and dried stalks in the heated fat in the pan and season them all on the stovetop, let it sear and finish it in the oven. Now that is my favorite spring little black (er, green) dress.
PAN ROASTED ASPARAGUS
1 small bunch asparagus, rinsed, dried, tough ends snapped off
1 small knob butter
1 small glug olive or canola oil
Sea salt + fresh pepper
Heat the oven to 400. Meanwhile prep asparagus. Heat a large saute pan, preferably cast iron, (stainless, oven-safe works too) over medium high heat. Combine butter and oil and when the butter stops foaming add stalks, season generously with salt and pepper and shake the pan to distribute. It should be nicely sizzling. Let it get some char for about a minute then shake the pan again and let it go another 30 seconds to a minute. Transfer the pan to the oven for 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the stalks. After 5 minutes, check by testing a knife in a stalk, it should slide through nicely but not mushily–give it another few minutes if the stalks were thicker. Remove and let cool in the pan a few minutes
Important: Wear an oven mitt when removing pan and testing for doneness!
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