My mom has always fried asparagus. Frying asparagus in olive oil with only kosher salt to enhance the flavor cannot be duplicated in any other method of cooking asparagus. I have grilled and roasted a ton of asparagus. I have steamed it, topped it with fried eggs, poached eggs, shaved parm, etc. etc. Nothing can compare to the flavor of properly fried (ok, you can say sautéed) asparagus. It is divine. It will always happily remind me of my mom and dad and the springtime seasons of my life. Read more about my love affair with asparagus and other funny stuff in this earlier post on KPK: http://katiespassionkitchen.blogspot.com/2010/06/asparagus.html
Here are the techniques for your new most favorite way to make asparagus. No recipe required.
Wash and dry some fresh asparagus. Technique tip #1 - Make sure it is DRY. If you don't dry it, it's going to steam and not brown. Snap off the tough, fibrous bases of the stalks. They'll snap right where the stalk goes from tender to tough. Slice on a diagonal for faster cooking. That's Technique tip #2. Slice thick stalks vertically. Note: I do like frying the stalks whole also, but slicing them makes them a bit more manageable and they definitely cook faster. You get more browned spots too. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a sauté pan. More tips. A sauté pan is a nice choice because it has a flat bottom with high, straight sides. This way, you'll have more surface area for great caramelization and the sides will prevent the asparagus from going overboard every time you flip them around. Make sure the oil is hot (medium-high to high heat). Drop in a piece of asparagus. If it doesn't sizzle, the oil is not hot enough. If it sizzles, it's ready. Drop in all of your asparagus. It will splatter and sputter a bit. Don't be afraid to cook it. We're not cooking this over low heat until it's tender and steaming it in it's own juices. You need higher heat for caramelization. Don't move it around for awhile. Let it cook and brown a bit without disturbing it. Caramelization changes everything for the better. Trust me.
With a spatula, flip the asparagus over and allow it to cook on medium high heat until it browns a bit more. Resist the temptation to sprinkle with salt until it's cooked at least halfway. Salting too early will cause the asparagus to release some liquid which interferes with the browning. Now you can flip it around a couple of times until the asparagus is nicely browned in spots and tender. Sprinkle with kosher salt. My favorite is still Morton Kosher Salt. I couldn't live without it.
Taste. If you don't sprinkle with salt, it won't be as delicious. Pile onto a platter or into a bowl and dive in. Enjoy all by itself. Pile onto a plate of scrambled eggs. Make a frittata. Enjoy as a side dish with pretty much anything, lol. At KPK At The Market, we piled it onto grilled ciabatta bread that had been brushed with olive oil and rubbed with cut garlic. It was a delectable and popular spring special.
Mark always says that keeping things simple is not that simple. Getting simple right is an art. What are you doing here? Go make your asparagus sing!!!
Tips At A Glance
Wash and DRY
Snap off woody ends
Slice on a diagonal and vertically slice thick stalks
Use a Saute Pan
Heat the Olive Oil
Medium High to High Heat
Allow asparagus to brown and caramelize
Flip, cook until tender and browned in spots
Sprinkle with Kosher Salt
Enjoy and love!
I'd love to hear from you. If you ever eat asparagus any other way again, I won't believe you.
LOL : )