Monday, April 16, 2007

Pan-seared Spring Asparagus with Lemon, Balsamic and Parmesan – “Foiled” Again!

It’s spring, when a young man's thoughts turn to two things; the other one is cooking delicious fresh asparagus! This is an easy method for cooking this delicious spring veggie, and NO we are NOT going to blanch them first. Why the all caps? Well, Day 1 of vegetable cookery in most old school Culinary Academies begins with a lecture on how and why to blanch vegetables. It’s boiling salted water, cook until tender-crisp, “shock” in ice water…or die. Those old-time Chefs really do love to boil vegetables before using them in various recipes. Now, I’m not saying to never do this. For many things like green beans it’s a great idea. But, I’m saying don’t always do it for every fresh vegetable – especially beautiful spring asparagus.

What you’re about to see in this video recipe is closer to what you’d get if you grilled raw asparagus and then drizzled over a nice lemon, balsamic dressing. But, we’re not grilling. We are simply going to pan-sear the raw spears in a VERY hot pan until they just start to get tender. Then, we’ll wrap them up tight in foil with our dressing, and wait for 5 minutes as the residual heat finishes the cooking process, and the asparagus is completely “favorized” (I’m trying to invent new words so I can get one in the dictionary like that Stephen Colbert – “truthiness?” Are you kidding me?).

There is a magical moment of doneness for asparagus; if undercooked they are bitter, if overcooked they are soft and fibrous, but if cooked until just tender…they are sweet and absolutely sensuous. Did I just say asparagus was sensuous? It must be spring. Enjoy!

*Note: I say near the end of the clip, when the asparagus is wrapped in the foil, to “toss” them half way through. What I meant was just to turn over the foil package after a few minutes, so the dressing get re-distributed. Don’t open the foil and mix them or you’ll lose the heat. This note will make was more sense if you’ve seen the clip!

1 bunch trimmed and washed asparagus
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbl olive oil
2 tbl balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
shaved Parmesan cheese to top


SheDrummer said...

I did this one last week, minus the cheese, and it was divine. My husband didn't think he liked asparagus until he tasted this. He loved it.

Anonymous said...

This was a really nicely done vid. Very instructive, at least for me, since in presenting the recipe it discussed at least three things about cooking I didn't know before - blanching (not always necessary); searing (use high heat in a heavy saute pan); and finally the great way the flavor was built up in the foil. Springtime asparagus is coming so will try soon. Thanks for a great recipe.

Emma said...

I was looking for some easy asparagus recipe and seems like I've found it here. Thanks for such a great resource Chef John!

Jason said...

That was amazingly simple and so deliscious!! I rarely cook anything. Thank u!

Anonymous said...

I made it for dinner and it was absolutely perfect. Thank you.

cookinmom said...

Could I grill instead of pan sear and get same results (maybe better)?

Chef John said...


cookinmom said...

Thanks for the speedy reply...grillin now!

EatAtlanta said...

I watch you all the time and this is a blast from the past! I am glad that that you upgraded your camera, Chef John. Tonight my boyfriend is making your miso-maple glazed salmon (which I have made many time, and I love it), and I will make this. I am sure it will be awesome!

EatAtlanta said...

Yep, this was fantastic. As always, we enjoyed!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Yummm. Spargelzeit and there is asparagus in my fridge and I'm about to cook it this way!

Unknown said...

Hey Chef,

the only addition I made was a bit of Austrian pumkinseedoil (Quite common in Europe) and it turned out...aspraraglicious!

Next to a nice T-bone steak it was sublime!

Thx for this and all your other recipes -Big fan

Unknown said...

I'm trying this tonight with your pastrami seasoning recipe on Tri Tip Roast.

I'll sear as you instruct, but will finish sprinkling your lemon juice and balsamic in the hot pan, with a tight lid to steam. Typically I use vermouth to finish, with a tight lid. Your recipe sounds excellent.

Chef John, you always provide great "Flavor Building" for your peeps. You are a #CulinaryBadAss

Thank you for your recipes and videos,
Bob The Builder