Asparagus with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette; It’s Asparagus Season!

Asparagus in spring.

I’ve posted this info before, but it bares repeating as the first tender shoots start peaking through the sand.

Food lovers the world over wait impatiently for the first sign of asparagus in the spring.

What color are you anxiously searching for?

Green?  White?  Violet?

It depends on where you live.

In the U.S. people look for slender, green asparagus.

In Europe people look for fat, white asparagus.


Violet is a nice compromise.

It’s white, but more slender than the traditional and with purplish tips.

Here is what I know about asparagus:

To store asparagus:  Slice off the dried ends… You should have a fresh, moist cut.  Stand in a coffee cup or small bowl with an inch (3cm) or so of water in the bottom.  It will keep a few days in the fridge… But it’s best eaten as soon after picking as possible.

To prepare green or thin violet asparagus: Snap off the ends by holding the very end of the stalk and bending carefully until it snaps. It will break naturally where the tender stalk begins.

To prepare white asparagus:  Cut off the woody stem ends – do not snap or you will lose half the asparagus.  Peel the asparagus with a vegetable peeler, starting from just below the tip.  White asparagus tends to be brittle, so, to avoid snapping it, lay it flat on the counter to peel.

To braise in a skillet: Put spears into a skillet big enough to hold them without cutting, add water to cover bottom by 1/4 inch, cover and bring to boil. Lower heat and cook just until done, 8 – 12 minutes, longer for white, adding a bit of water as needed.

To bake/roast: Put a drizzle of oil on a baking sheet – one with a lip all around. I use a pizza pan. Roll the asparagus in oil (use your fingers!). Put in the oven at 400F (200C), tips facing the oven door. Bake for 15 – 25 minutes, depending on size. White will take the longest.

To cook on barbecue grill: Rub with olive oil. Either cook directly on barbecue grill (being careful not to let any slip through, or on a mesh pan. Turn frequently. Should be done in 7 – 15 minutes depending on size and heat. They will start to brown slightly but that’s okay – adds flavor and crunch.

To sauté: Put 1 tbs butter in a large nonstick skillet. Add asparagus and sauté over medium heat until they brown slightly and are done, 6 – 10 minutes, depending on size.  You can also sauté them over low heat for much longer.  I did thin, green asparagus in butter and olive oil over low heat for 25 minutes last night and they were perfect – not limp, still a bit of crunch and nicely browned.

To steam: Lay in steamer basket over simmering water, cover and steam for 6 – 10 minutes. depending on size.

Green asparagus I prefer to sauté in olive oil, sometimes just finishing with a bit of pepper and sea salt….

Asparagus is best when not over-cooked.  Whatever your choice of method, watch it and test frequently if you’re unsure.

Here are a few of our favorite asparagus recipes to get the season started:

Asparagus Soup

Asparagus Soup

Asparagus, Prosciutto and Chevre (Goat Cheese) Quiche

Asparagus Chevre Quiche

Salmon, Smoked Salmon, Avocado and Asparagus Pasta

Salmon Asparagus Pasta
Chicken, Asparagus and Feta Salad

Chicken Asparagus Feta
Poached Eggs with Asparagus and Green Garlic on Polenta

Polenta, Asparagus, Green Garlic
Asparagus, Avocado and Cherry Tomato Salad

Asparagus Tomato Salad

And one simple treatment of violet (or green) asparagus finished with a light Lemon Parsley vinaigrette.
Asparagus with Lemon, Parsley

The recipe, Asparagus with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette, has been updated, nutrition information added, and re-posted here: Asparagus with Lemon Vinaigrette.

We do love asparagus season….

Leave a comment with your favorites – I’ll do a ’round-up’.

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11 thoughts on “Asparagus with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette; It’s Asparagus Season!”

  1. On Saturday morning, I went into our little local grocery store, and it was transformed! Asparagus, strawberries, artichokes – everything looked so lovely!I didn’t get any of the former yet, though; it’s still very expensive. I did get some strawberries and artichokes, though. Yum!

  2. I got a bunch yesterday! They are not cheap, but who can resist fresh asparagus? (Especially after seeing the array of your recipes, Kathy.)

  3. I’m not a huge white asparagus fan yet… I’m American, so even at my French grocery store, I find myself searching for the skinny green ones for roasting… hope I can find some soon!

  4. We’ve been harvesting asparagus from the garden for a month or so and have just one more picking. I always steam it for 4 minutes and then chill it in ice water, but I’m going to try your technique for sauteeing in a non-stick skillet and then serve it hot- it’s time I branched out, and I like the idea that it’ll be slightly brown.

  5. What?!! It’s asparagus season where you are? That’s SO unfair!
    I can’t wait for asparagus season here – which won’t be until June at least. Perhaps it will be warm enough by then to barbecue and we can cook our asparagus in our barbecue wok with baby onions.

  6. Kalyn, we like it best when it’s simple.
    Zoomie, my hubs favorite time of year – the ‘A’s (asparagus, artichokes and avocados)
    Val, ours isn’t local – but close – at least in France or Spain.
    Betty, now is when I really like the local markets… I can get cauliflower anywhere in winter ;-))
    Simona, once spring is here we have to indulge!
    Emiglia, I don’t like the really fat ones, either – but the skinnier violet are good.
    manningroad, most Europeans like the white – esp. the Germans and Spanish.
    Shelby, I usually get 1 kilo a week in season… we use it!
    Kerry, lucky you! I’ve tried growing it but without much success.
    Elizabeth, June!!!?! That’s almost courgette season! Poor thing. I’d send you some, but….

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