For the first-of-the-season asparagus, keep it simple with butter, lemon and sweet herbs. For the best texture, peeling the stalks really makes a difference.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1 ½pounds large or medium asparagus
- 6tablespoons butter
- Salt and pepper
- 2tablespoons lemon juice
- ½teaspoon lemon zest
- 1tablespoon snipped chives
- 1tablespoon roughly chopped parsley or chervil
- 1teaspoon chopped tarragon, plus more for garnish
- 1tablespoon chopped dill, plus more for garnish (optional)
Step 1Snap off and discard the tough bottoms of the asparagus spears. If using large, thick asparagus, peel the lower ends with a vegetable peeler.
Step 2Put butter in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus in one layer and season with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup water, cover, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the asparagus is firm-tender, about 3 minutes. Take care not to overcook them; they should still be bright green. (They will continue to cook a bit once the heat is off.) Remove the asparagus from the pan and place on a serving platter.
Step 3Turn heat to high and simmer briskly until most of the liquid has evaporated, a minute or so. Add lemon juice and zest to the buttery juices. Turn off heat and stir in chives, parsley, tarragon and dill, if using. Check seasoning. Spoon the sauce over the asparagus, garnish with a few herb leaves, and serve.