Friday, March 23, 2012

Recipe for Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest

pan-fried asparagus
This simple and amazingly delicious recipe for Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips has only 3 ingredients!

(For Phase One Fridays I highlight Phase One recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites. This recipe for lemony pan-fried asparagus tips is something I make over and over.)

Every spring I look forward to the arrival of low-priced asparagus in the grocery store. I love asparagus and I'm definitely a convert to the "less is more" approach when it comes to cooking it. I've tried a lot of good asparagus recipes, but I'm not sure any of them can beat this simple pan-fried asparagus with only three ingredients: asparagus, olive oil, and a lemon. To make it even better, I like to use just the asparagus tips for this recipe, and save the thicker parts of the asparagus stalk to cook using a different method. If that doesn't work for you, cook the thicker parts of the asparagus stalks for a couple of minutes before you add the tips.

Before you start to cook the asparagus, use a zester or fine cheese greater to remove most of the lemon zest (grated bright yellow lemon skin.) When the zest is removed, cut the lemon in half.

Then heat the olive oil in a large pan and lay asparagus in a single layer as much as you can. Cook asparagus over medium-high heat about 4-5 minutes. Then turn off heat, squeeze lemon juice over asparagus, plate it, and sprinkle with lemon zest.

Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest
(Makes 2 servings. Recipe created by Kalyn, with inspiration from a recipe for sauteed asparagus in Fine Cooking.)

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. asparagus tips (from one pound of asparagus, save the rest of the asparagus to cook another way)
1 T good quality olive oil
1 lemon, remove all zest, then cut lemon in half

Instructions:
Cut 4-5 inch long tips from one pound of asparagus (saving the thicker stalk ends for another recipe.) Zest the lemon, then cut lemon in half and remove any noticeable seeds.

Heat the olive oil in the largest frying pan you have. (I used a non-stick pan, but any good frying pan will work.) Add asparagus in a single layer and turn heat to medium-high. Cook asparagus 4-5 minutes, turning about once a minute. Asparagus is done when the thickest part of the stalk can be pierced fairly easily with a fork but asparagus still has some snap to it, and asparagus is starting to brown.

Turn off heat, the squeeze over juice of half the lemon (or use the whole lemon if it's not especially juicy.) Arrange asparagus on a plate with all stalks facing the same way, sprinkle with lemon zest and serve immediately.




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Recipe Memories:
I made this several times for my dad and stepmother in the months before she died. even though asparagus wasn't in season yet and I was paying premium prices for it. I kept returning to this recipe because she was supposed to avoid salt, and this was something that tasted wonderful with no salt at all. I'm sure I'll always think of her whenever I make this.

South Beach Suggestions:
This is a wonderful recipe for any phase of the South Beach Diet, or any type of low-glycemic eating plan. It's a bit of a splurge to use only the tips of the asparagus, even when it's in season, but try it for a special occasion and you'll be a convert.

Other "Less is More" Ways to Cook Asparagus
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan from Kalyn's Kitchen
Slow Roasted Asparagus from Kalyn's Kitchen
Asparagus with Basil Pesto from Kalyn's Kitchen
Perfectly-Cooked Asparagus from Simply Recipes
Slow Butter Braised Asparagus from Steamy Kitchen
(Want even more asparagus recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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44 comments:

Cora said...

This is my favorite way to make asparagus too! Sometime I roast it, sometimes I pan-fry it--but I always use olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest. A match made in heaven!

Recipe man said...

WOW !

this looks great so fresh and yummy

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Delicious! :) My Michael make something very similar but with butter and lemon. Your version sounds much more healthy and fresh!

Maria said...

So simple, but so good! I love lemon with my asparagus, the perfect Spring dish...oh wait we still have snow, sad!

Marc and Heather said...

I noticed you posted a comment about a chili verde recipe. I believe Red Iguana uses Cumin in their version of chili verde. It is so yummy! If you ever figure it out, let me know! heatherjmcdonald@yahoo.com

Lyn said...

That looks fantastic! I love asparagus, too. I'm going to have to try this one!

Kalyn said...

Fun that there seems to be so agreement on this combination with asparagus. Loved it.

Marc and Heather, I've asked the Red Iguana for the recipe, but no luck!

Lyn, such a healthy recipe and delicious too!

jesse said...

YUM!!! I agree that simpler is better when it comes to asparagus. My favourite way of cooking asparagus is to pan-fry with minced garlic and a dash of soy sauce. Heavenly!

Anonymous said...

Add a handful of almonds and it's my favorite dish, Asparagus almondine!

Cora said...

Back again! Tried the stir fried asparagus tonight with orange zest and juice--out of lemons and limes--it was delicious too! Now the only fruit I have left is bananas . . . naaaaah.

haleysuzanne said...

I love asparagus paired with lemon. Bundle some of these beauties up with prosciutto, and that's all I need!

Kalyn said...

Cora, orange juice and zest sounds intriguing! I also noticed that Elise had asparagus with lime, which sounds great too.

Bananas, no!

Ricki said...

That's some gorgeous asparagus. I love the idea of pan-frying it--never tried it that way. Can't wait to give this a go!

Foodie McBody said...

Yeah, that's exactly how I make asparagus too! I've done it in the oven as well - same ingredients, just sorta roasted.

Karina Allrich said...

So fresh and tasty. I love pan-fried asparagus. Crisp. Green. Beautiful, Kalyn.

Kalyn said...

Ricki, pan-frying is such a perfect way to cook asparagus. Let it get nice and brown.

Foodie McBody, I've done roasted asparagus too, but I might like this way better.

Karina, thanks, and love the new photo!

Pearl said...

hmm i've never tried pan fried asparagus, and that lemon zest must add a delicious, light flavor!

Selba said...

Wow... this looks so yummy!

Maya said...

Simple but elegant.

Paz said...

I can't wait to try this!

Paz

PRETTY IN PARIS said...

You are one of my favorite blogs. I have been reading and trying things thanks to all the delicious and easy recipes.
I'd love to go the the market here in Paris with you to pick up those fresh asparagus!
Have a beautiful week,
Brigitte

Kalyn said...

Pearl, I'm a huge fan of lemon zest, and it's wonderful in this.

Selba and Maya, thanks!

Paz, I think you will like it!

Brigitte, I can't think of anything more fun than going to the market in Paris with you! Someday I'm going to make it there and maybe we can do that. I always look longing at the market photos on David Lebovitz and Chocolate and Zucchini, must be wonderful to live there!

Jeff said...

I love asparagus and especially when it is done simply like this. Making me anxious and I may have to go scream at my asparagus plants to start growing.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

I always look forward to asparagus season and I'm going to make this for sure. :) My 'simple recipe' uses butter, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and egg so it's not heart healthy and not for everyone.

Joy the Baker said...

I love to see the arrival of asparagus every spring. You're right- keep it simple! This dish looks just divine!

Dave Jones said...

That looks supremely cheerful and yummy... I love asparagus...gonna try it soon.

Paula Maack said...

Wow, Kalyn!! This one is a real winner for me. I am inspired!

I usually just blanch asparagus and drizzle it with a lemony hollandise, or grill/roast with olive oil and salt.

This adds the tart lemon, which I love, with asparagus in a much lighter and healthier way than my usual rich hollandaise sauce.

This sounds so simple, but it never occurred to me. Thank you, Kalyn!!!

Your recipe will appear on my table tonight!

Cheers,

~ Paula

StuffCooksWant said...

Fresh and tart...the way we like things at our house. Thanks for the reminder.

And, we like just the tips too, although I feel badly for not using the entire "sparrow grass" (as the boys call them).

The mom~ster said...

i love your new banner picture...just wanted to pop in and say hi...

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Those asparagus tips are jumping right off my screen -- beautiful photo! I use the stalks to make asparagus soup, which is one of my favorite soups for spring.

Pam said...

This sounds wonderfully fresh!

Sonja said...

This sounds delicious, and so refreshing! I really look forward to the arrival of asparagus...

Last year I tried a recipe of asparagus tips with a dip of egg yolk, whisked foamy over steam with a bit of sugar, salt and a pinch of saffron. Not as light as your dish, but it was quite yummy, too.

SaysPhoebe said...

I habitually roast my asparagus, but this will be the perfect complement for the pork roast I'm getting ready to throw in the crock pot for tonight (with my yummy looking Costco asparagus).

Reading Brigitte's entry reminded me of my wonderful trip to Europe last year.

We arrived in Germany just in time for Spargelfest - a festival held for the love of asparagus! All of the markets had beautiful (and huge!) white asparagus and all restaurants brought asparagus up-front on their menus with wonderfully fresh sides, soups, quiches, and other creative offerings.
If you've not been, this is a great "someday" trip for any asparagus lover!

bakadyl said...

Wow, this looks lovely and is so totally going in my next recipe.

I'm liking your blog, and I'm sure we can become friends, share recipes and just have a nice chat soon, see ya, and thanks sooooo much for this recipe.

Wendi said...

We love pan fried asparagus at our house but have never thought of adding lemon zest. Thanks for a great idea.

Elizabeth said...

This looks fabulous, Kalyn. We often toss asparagus with a little butter and lemon juice but hadn't thought of using olive oil and lemon zest. Great idea! (The only bad thing is that we'll have to wait until June when asparagus season is in full swing.)

kathi said...

How sweet of you to do that for your stepmother!
I have never thought of pan-frying asparagus--I'm going to try it!

Cookin' Canuck said...

This recipe makes me so excited for the arrival of asparagus. Peak-of-the-season asparagus doesn't need much done to it to make it taste good, so this simple preparation is perfect.

Jenn @ Handmade Homebody said...

Yum! I'm making this tonight! Thank you!

Gina @ Skinnytaste said...

I love the addition of lemon zest to this!!

Russ Recipe said...

Very delicious recipe! I made it last night and enjoyed the flavor the asparagus contained!

Donna said...

I am so with you on Asparagus Love/Obsession!

Kalyn said...

I have enjoyed this recipe so much, so it makes me happy that more people are discovering it!

Ruby Moukli said...

I am so excited that asparagus season is upon us, and I agree - less is so much more!

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