I mainly roast asparagus in the oven, but this method of slow cooking white asparagus on the stovetop was a revelation. My friend made this for us as a starter course for Easter lunch and I had to share it with you.
The recipe comes from Michelin-starred chef Alain Passard, known for his ingenious work with vegetables. He calls the dish “Les Asperges en Colère” (Angry Asparagus) because of the crazy, fun ribbon peels. The ribbons get lightly charred, adding a little texture and taking simple asparagus to another level.
This very easy, flavorful way of preparing beautiful, fresh (not jarred!!) white asparagus is perfect as a light starter dish or as a side to any protein. My asparagus were quite large and have a little purplish color on top which is unique to white asparagus produced in the Landes region of France. If yours are not as thick, they may only need 40 minutes to cook.
Active time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 44 minutes
6 large white asparagus
2 tablespoons (30 g) salted butter
2-4 sprigs of fresh thyme and/or rosemary
A small slice or wedge of lemon
Kosher salt or salt flakes
Prepare the asparagus. Discard about ½ an inch off the woody end. Use a peeler to remove the tough outer layer of the asparagus. Then, use the peeler to create ‘ribbons’ (see video).
Drag the peeler down the asparagus, stopping about ½ an inch from the end. Gently remove the peeler, leaving the ribbon attached to the asparagus and repeat all around the stalk. You can also make a second layer of ribbons by going around the asparagus another time.
Like me, you probably do not have a frying pan large enough to hold the 6 asparagus so there is space in between each, so use two frying pans. Place half the butter and sprigs of fresh thyme and/or rosemary in each pan. Turn the heat to low and swirl the pans to coat with the melted butter.
Add the asparagus to the pans and cook, untouched and uncovered, for 20-22 minutes (depending on their thickness). Use a spatula to flip the asparagus over and cook for another 20-22 minutes. The ribbons should be almost charred and you should be able to pierce a fork through it without the fork getting stuck. Cook a little longer if need be, but don't let them get mushy.
Place the asparagus on plates or a serving platter. Remove the sprigs of herbs (use to decorate the plates), squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into the pan and stir into the buttery juices. Drizzle the pan juice over the asparagus. Sprinkle with a pinch of Kosher salt or salt flakes and serve.
And bon appétit!
Here's a video of the recipe with Chef Alain Passard (in French)