You’re hungry and you need something quick but healthy. What do you do?!
Enter, this super quick sautéed asparagus recipe. It’s delicious, easy to make and best of all it’s fast.
The best part about is asparagus is it doesn’t have to be overcomplicated to taste great. As long as you have a little mayo in your fridge you can make this recipe in under 20 minutes, maybe even less…
Is Asparagus Healthy?
Of course! Green asparagus is slightly more nutritious than white asparagus and it’s full of antioxidants, vitamin E, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin K. Because it contains a good amount of prebiotics asparagus can help with bloating and digestive health. The abundance of folate and tryptophan in this green veggie has also been linked to improved mood and reduced irritability. 
How to Trim Asparagus
There are a few ways to do it but the simplest way is to very lightly peel the stalks. The bigger the asparagus, the more likely it needs to be peeled. Then remove about 1inch (3cm) from the bottom with a knife. You’re just trying to remove anything that’s too woody to eat.
For this recipe I don’t actually use a peeler, instead, I use a pairing knife to snip off the leaves that go up the stalk. This method makes beautiful looking asparagus but is really only suited for young, fresh asparagus.
How do You Sauté Asparagus?
Sauté which translates to “jump” in French is essentially just a quick toss in the pan.
Because we blanch first, the trick here is to not overcook it when we sauté it. Make sure the butter is hot and foamy before you add the asparagus and toss in the pan for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, lemon and serve right away.
Asparagus Buying Guide
In Maastricht, we have a pretty amazing selection of white and green asparagus that they sell by the kilos in the local market. When the asparagus is at its peak in freshness, it’s at its best price and it makes sense to buy as much as you can.
When shopping for asparagus try to find big thick stalks that are firm and bright green for the best results. Fresh asparagus has a beautiful sweet flavour that it loses as it sits on the shelf too long.
How to Keep Asparagus Bright Green
Because this recipe is very simple it’s absolutely paramount that you cook the veggies properly in boiling, salted water.
As for any green vegetable containing chlorophyll (the green pigment colour in plants) they must always be kept either very hot or very cold to avoid activating the enzyme that turns them grey. This means that if the blanching water is warm instead of boiling hot you will achieve grey, sad-looking vegetables instead of beautiful, bright green vegetables.
Is it Keto, Vegetarian?
This asparagus recipe is perfect for the keto diet because it contains no carbs and no sugar (As long as you use a sugar-free mayo). It’s also suitable for vegetarians and gluten-free diets.
What does Refreshing a Vegetable Mean?
Refreshing a vegetable is simply dunking it in an ice bath to stop the cooking after blanching.
In restaurants we normally blanch in boiling, salted water and refresh in ice cold water to quickly bring the temperature of the vegetables down and avoid activating the “greying” enzymes.
For this recipe, I skip the ice bath method because we will eat the asparagus right away and it’s not necessary to chill and reheat. If you plan to eat the asparagus later you can blanch and refresh the veggies and then heat up quickly whenever needed.
How Long to Cook Asparagus?
I always cook my vegetables like I would my pasta – al dente, with a little bit of a bite.
How long you should cook asparagus depends on the size. I recommend anywhere from 1-3 minutes in boiling salted water for average-sized asparagus. Test it with a small pairing knife to feel for a slight resistance in the stalk. The more you practice cooking and testing with the knife, the sooner you will know what you prefer.
Keep in mind the longer you cook a vegetable, the more nutrients are lost in your boiling water. This is why steaming is healthier than boiling because very few nutrients are lost compared to boiling.
Pro Tip – Always cook green vegetables in boiling, salted water to preserve the green colour of the vegetable.
Tips to Nail this Sautéed Asparagus Recipe
- Use a speed peeler to remove the thin layer of the bottom of the stalks quickly and effectively.
- Blanch the asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water to keep the beautiful green colour of the asparagus.
- Use some store-bought mayonnaise as a base for this recipe to save time.
- 400 g green asparagus try to pick the fattest ones with a bright green colour
- 1 whole orange
- 1 whole lemon
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp mayonaise for keto, find a mayo without added sugar
- salt and pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Remove the thick woody part at the end of the asparagus with a knife and discard (about 1 inch/3cm off the bottom). With a small knife begin to remove the tiny leaves on the stalks or peel with a speed peeler.
- Make the citrus mayo by zesting an orange and one lemon into a small bowl with the mayonnaise. Add a squeeze of lemon and a squeeze of orange juice. Season with salt and pepper.
- When the salted water is boiling, add the asparagus and cook until al dente, about 1-3 minutes or until the stalks are tender but still have a little bite to them . Remove from the water and dry off on a plate with paper towel.
- Immediately after drying the asparagus get a large sauté pan hot and add the butter. Toss the asparagus in the foamy butter and season with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon and orange juice.
- Serve on a big plate with the citrus mayonnaise just off to the side.