Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gently Sautéed Fresh Asparagus with Sel de Guérande and Meyer Lemon

The simplest plate of a single vegetable is sometimes the best plate on the table.

I'm a staunch proponent of roasting vegetables to bring out their flavors and concentrate their sweetness and I dearly love to roast asparagus.  But these California babies are sautéed and boy are they delicious.

Good olive oil, sel de guérande, a squeeze of Meyer lemon juice - those and the freshest asparagus you can find along with a light hand with the sauté pan are all you will need.

Oh Happy Spring!

Sautéed Asparagus with Sel de Guérande and Meyer Lemon
1 pound fresh asparagus
1-2 teaspoons good, fruity olive oil
A pinch or two of a good fleur de sel (French sea salt, see my sidebar)
Juice from 1/2 of a small Meyer lemon plus extra wedges for serving
Gently wash the asparagus under cool water. Pat dry with a dish towel.
Pick up a spear with both hands, holding it as if you were going to bite into an ear of corn.
Gently bend the spear and allow it to snap where it wants, using your thumbs to help bend the spear. (This ensures that the woody end will not end up on your plate. If your asparagus spears are very thin and don't have woody ends, you could lay them out on a cutting board so the bottom ends align, then cut off about one inch of those ends.)
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan 12-inch pan (I use cast iron for this) over medium high.
When the oil is hot but not smoking, lower the heat to medium, add the asparagus in a single layer, sprinkle with a generous pinch of sea salt and let cook for 2 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to coat each spear with olive oil.
Using tongs, gently turn the spears so they can cook on all sides, no more than another 3 minutes. The spears should be easy to bite into with just a little resistance - in other words, al dente.
Remove the pan from the heat and squeeze the lemon juice over the spears. Shake the pan to distribute the juices and using the tongs, transfer the asparagus to warm plates.
Sprinkle with another pinch of sea salt if desired and serve with additional wedges of Meyer lemon.

Bon appétit!

Copyright © 2005-2010, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


Peter M said...

I'm so happy that asparagus are in season. They need little coaxing and are wonderful and best when simply prepared.

HARE said...

Oh! I love the Asparagus. I bought yesterday, so we will eat tonight.^^

Angie's Recipes said...

There ain't green asparagus here yet...plenty of the white one from Greece though. I also like to have them simply stir-fried as they tasted the best when simply done.

Kalyn said...

Gorgeous. I agree, this might be the best thing on the table.

Christine said...

You've just done a lovely post with asparagus and salmon that I just love, Peter. My salmon dish will have to wait until next week. ;)

I'd love to know how you prepare your asparagus, Maki. ^^

Thanks for visiting Angie. Your blog is most amazing.

Hey Kalyn. Haven't you left yet? :))) Get on that vacation, girl!

Christine said...

Hi Folks. I'll be away from my computer for a few days so your comments might not show up right away. I'll get to them as soon as I can and will enjoy reading each and every one of them.
Have a great weekend!

Mary said...

What a lovely way to cook asparagus! Your photo is really gorgeous and it is a taste tempter. Thank you for your very kind words this morning. I really appreciate them. I love your blog and will visit regularly. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Paz said...

Oh! I like this!

Happy weekend!


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Lovely! I've been grilling my asparagus lately, and giving a bit of a squirt of lemon when they're still warm. I'm excited about the imminent arrival of asparagus season here in Rhode Island.

Deborah Dowd said...

I am such a fan of asparagus in almost all its forms, but sometimes the simplest preparations are the best!

katiez said...

We have been indulging in asparagus - as much as we can handle, these past weeks. Right now we are finding green, which mon mari prefers (I like it all). I usually saut them as I tend to not pay enough attention if they're in the oven. Now, if only I could get those sweet lemons.... I'll manage with the regular ones ;-))
Very, very nice photo!

Sophie said...

What a lovely , easy yet so tasty green asparagus dish!

I prefer the white asparagus because I think they have a more lovely & sweeter taste!

Green & white asparagus are still quite expensive over here in Belgium even on the markets!

Carol said...

You prepared the asparagus just the way I love them Christine. I so look forward to having them break the ground in my garden. Your photo captures the mouthwatering quality perfectly.

Christine said...

To Mary, Paz, Deborah, Lydia, Katie and Sophie - I'm sorry for the late response. I was away for the last 4 days and am just now catching up. Sorry to lump you all together like this, but sometimes it's all I've got. My sincere thanks to all of you for your supportive comments!

Christine said...

Lucky you to have asparagus growing in your garden, Carol! Our weather is too wet here to raise them but I sure would like to. Thanks for the visit!

Simona said...

I got some at the farmers' market the day before we left and they were delicious. I like your recipe!