Sunday, May 9, 2010

Asparagus Cooked in Brown Butter, Again...

We have been back from NYC for a week and back to our Vermont routine. I love the rituals we do once or twice a year as they give me a chance to see how much my boys have grown and matured since the last time. Ever since Julian stopped napping visiting New York has gotten better and better. When everyone still needed to nap, it felt like the whole day was spent either getting people to sleep or figuring out how to feed them. Now we can have breakfast in the morning and spend the whole day exploring without racing the clock to fit in a nap. Both boys are more interested in the places we visit now as well.

On this trip we had dumplings in the village, went to the Museum of Natural History twice, once to visit the butterfly conservatory and once just to explore. We also went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the "Bambu" exhibit on the roof. Perhaps the boys favorite was just playing in as many of Central Parks playgrounds as we could. If you go to New York with children you can spend your whole visit playing on the playgrounds. For the record, playgrounds were nowhere near this great when I was growing up in New York.

While we were in the village for Dumplings we went to the Union Square farmer's market. I got 3 bunches of asparagus. Buying asparagus that early in spring felt like an illicit pleasure to my Vermont eating sensibilities. When we are at home I often grill asparagus, however having a grill indoors in an apartment is generally frowned upon, something about fire risks. So I made another favorite, asparagus cooked in brown butter. I shared this recipe here last spring as well, it is delicious enough that it bears a revisit.

Like grilling and roasting this recipe caramelizes some of the sugars, resulting in a sweeter flavor. It also retains some of the crisp tender quality that my children require, or to be more precise is not stringy. In addition the brown butter melds with the asparagus and makes the flavor smoother, silkier and richer. When I make grilled and roasted asparagus Sebastian will not eat the tips and I get extra of my favorite part. With this recipe the sumptuous flavor is the most perfect in the tips and Sebastian eats the whole thing. I have noticed he even saves the tips for last. (This year he has begun shunning the tips in all recipes, yeah I get them!)

Pan Browned Asparagus with Browned Butter
From Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds thin or medium asparagus, ends snapped off where they naturally break
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Place the asparagus in the skillet in a single layer (I don't always have the space for a single layer, if so shake the pan occasionally to rearrange the asparagus). Season with kosher salt to taste. Cover the pan and cook until crisp tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove the cover, raise the heat to medium high and cook, shaking the pan occasionally to turn them, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to a serving platter with a slotted spoon or tongs. Season with pepper and serve immediately. (or, you can tell your family to wait while you just take 30 photos of the finished dish for your blog.)


  1. OOOH Robin. I love the idea of your asparagus with brown butter. Another great photo.


  2. It looks really delicious.

  3. Gorgeous photos, and gorgeous food, Robin.

  4. Gotta love trips to NYC! Sounds fun! And awesome photo of the asparagus.