Asparagus is a favorite in our house. Locally grown asparagus has a short season around here, so when its available, we eat it all the time.
It’s a great source of vitamin K, B vitamins, and folate + it’s on the clean 15 for pesticide residue.
The way I normally always eat it is oven roasted because its fast and easy and requires minimal cleanup. But tonight I was craving something a little fancier.
Thumbing through my Cooks Illustrated (did I mention this is the best standard cookbook ever?) I found this little gem: a quick orange-almond pan sauce for steamed asparagus. Uh, yes please?
This came out so delicious: a little citrusy, a little sweet, and a nice textural crunch. It looked beautiful too- would be great for a dinner party side.
Pan steamed asparagus with an orange-almond sauce: (serves 4)
You will need:
2.5T olive oil
1/4c sliced almonds
1/2 cup orange juice
zest of one small orange
1T white wine
2t minced fresh thyme
2T minced shallot
1t white vinegar
2 bunches asparagus
salt and pepper, to taste
Drizzle 1T olive oil in a large skillet and heat until oil is shimmering. Add almonds and cook, stirring frequently, until almonds are golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add orange juice, wine, and 1t thyme and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is slightly thickened, 5-7 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in 2T minced shallot and 1t white vinegar. Spoon sauce into a bowl and set aside. Rinse skillet and wipe dry. Add 1.5T olive oil to skillet and heat until oil is shimmering. Add half of asparagus to pan and then add the other half, pointing the second halfs spears the opposite way. This allows the asparagus to cook more evenly. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Remove lid and plate the asparagus. Spoon the sauce over the asparagus and zest the orange over it. Sprinkle the rest of the chopped thyme and serve!
Also, my basic everyday recipe for asparagus is below if you’re interested:
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and place washed and trimmed asparagus spears on top. Drizzle with olive oil and use your hands to evenly distribute the oil onto each spear. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, pop in oven and roast for 6-15 minutes, depending on how thick your spears are and how well done you like your asparagus. Keep checking it and take it out when its to your liking. I like to squeeze a little lemon on top after its cooked. Also I sometimes throw a few whole green onions in with the asparagus while it cooks. They come out a little charred and have a lot of deep flavor. Cut them all up and toss with some wheat berries or brown rice, avocado, and herbs = a super quick and tasty lunch.