If you want to bring out the best in asparagus, especially in off-season, try braising it. I have never been disappointed when braising any vegetable, and this is no exception. All of its mineral-rich, woodsy flavors come out. You could use either white or green asparagus in this recipe. Keep in mind that the white asparagus, lacking chlorophyll, has a milder more delicate flavor. It is grown covered in mounds of sandy soil so it never sees the light of day – hence remains white. For this recipe, I prefer a fatter asparagus stalk over the super-thin pencil ones.
Rinse 16-20 asparagus spears and trim the tough ends. Asparagus does not require peeling but if especially thick – please do so because the stems can be tough and stringy. Since I was making this a little early in asparagus season (spring), I did peel them to be sure all woodiness would be removed. In a skillet large enough to hold the asparagus in a single layer, combine 1 Tb extra-virgin olive oil, asparagus, 1 tsp coarse kosher salt, several sprigs of fresh rosemary and several bay leaves. Sprinkle with 3-4 Tb of cold water. Cover the skillet. Cook over high heat just until you hear the oil and water mixture begin to sizzle. Reduce the heat to medium and braise the asparagus, shaking the pan or turning from time to time. Braise just until the vegetable begins to brown in spots, about 8-10 minutes (depending on the thickness of the asparagus).
|Braising the veggie|
Serve immediately and enjoy!