Why It Works
- Briefly searing the asparagus develops savory, caramelized flavors.
- Cooking the asparagus with stock and butter over high heat creates a reduced, emulsified sauce that coats each stalk.
There are many ways to prepare asparagus, and braising is a great choice. Here's what I had to say in our guide to asparagus:
This is my absolute favorite way to prepare it, and the one that was looked down upon for so many years. Why would you want to eat drab green vegetables?, people would say. Because they taste as awesome as MacGyver was cool, that's why. I sear my stalks in a bit of oil first to develop flavor, then deglaze the pan with either water or stock, add a big knob of butter, put a lid on the whole thing, and let the asparagus cook in the liquid as it reduced. By the time the stalks are tender, with good luck, your stock and butter will have emulsified into a slick, stalk-coating sauce that adds richness and sweet flavor to each bite. It's awesome.
How to Buy and Prep Asparagus
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and peeled (if desired)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Heat oil in a 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan over high heat until lightly smoking. Add asparagus in as close to a single layer as possible, season with salt and pepper, and cook without moving until lightly browned, about 1 1/2 minutes. Shake pan and cook until browned again, 1 1/2 minutes longer. Add stock and butter to pan and immediately cover.
Continue to cook until asparagus is completely tender and stock and butter have emulsified and reduced to a shiny glaze, 7 to 10 minutes. If stock completely evaporates and butter starts to burn before asparagus is cooked through, top up with a few tablespoons of water. Serve immediately.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 16g||20%|
|Saturated Fat 6g||30%|
|Total Carbohydrate 5g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||8%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 9mg||45%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|