Cooking Corner

Basil Asparagus with Lemon

The best part of springtime is the fresh produce that begins to show up in the garden, farmers market, and even the grocery store. The other day, it was brought to my attention that asparagus was growing in the garden. The asparagus was planted two years ago, and this is the first time that it has begun to pop up in harvest worthy quantities.

No matter the vegetable, there is something magical and distinctly wonderful about picking it fresh from the garden. As I was harvesting, I tasted few spears raw, and the sweet flavor and tenderness quickened my pulse. I decided that I would prepare them simply so as not to harm the delicate sweet flavor that they exhibited. Unlike store bought asparagus, they had a ton of nuanced flavor and texture. Be careful not to overcook them. For anyone who has a spare patch of ground to devote to asparagus, I highly recommend growing some. They generally grow well during colder months and come into season in the spring and fall.

1 lb of asparagus spears

2-3 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

½ lemon

3-4 leaves of basil

Salt and pepper

To begin, melt the butter and add the olive oil in a large frying pan. Crush the garlic cloves and add to the pan. Keep the pan over medium heat, being careful not to brown the garlic too much. As it browns, garlic can become bitter. After allowing the garlic to infuse into the oil for a minute or two, add the asparagus. Turn up the heat a bit if needed, tossing the asparagus to coat well in the fat.

Cook the asparagus for about five to eight minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus. The fresher it is, the less you will need to cook it as well. At the end of cooking, add the juice half the lemon, salt and pepper to taste, and toss to coat. Transfer the asparagus directly from the pan to a large serving plate. Garnish with a chiffonade (thinly sliced ribbons) of basil. Add more lemon if desired.

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