Pan fried asparagus is soft, rich, and full of flavour, combining wonderfully with olive oil & garlic. After slow cooking, the asparagus is meltingly soft.
This simple dish takes about 20 minutes to prepare, and uses only three ingredients. It is one of my favourite ways of eating asparagus.
Watch How To Make Pan Fried Asparagus
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Pan fried asparagus is soft, rich, and full of flavour, a wonderful combination of the spears, olive oil, and garlic. It’s easy to make, and by slow cooking the asparagus, the spears are almost melting when eating.
British grown asparagus is in season from April to June, but is available all year round through imports. Growing asparagus is for gardeners who love both waiting a long time for a harvest, and weeding. Admittedly not a common combination, so nowadays I buy mine rather than grow.
Asparagus does not need much cleaning. I soak the spears for about 5 minutes in water and then rinse. If they have been in the fridge for a while, it may be worth cutting about an inch off the end of the spears if these have dried out. There is no need to do this if the spears are freshly picked.
Take a few cloves of garlic, remove the skin, and chop them coarsely. If the garlic is cut too finely, it will blacken during cooking.
Pour some olive oil into a pan. Use a good puddle of olive oil, as it is needed to cover the asparagus so that the spears cook evenly. Add the asparagus to the pan, and finally the garlic.
The pan needs to start on a medium heat on the hob. This is simply to heat the oil to the right temperature, just to when the asparagus starts to sizzle in the pan, and no longer. At the first sizzle, turn the heat down low.
Turning the heat down is an important step. Without doing this, the asparagus and garlic will cook too quickly.
Cover the pan with a lid. The lid is a big help in the cooking process, as the asparagus is not only slowly cooking in the oil, but is being steamed too. The moisture kept in the pan helps prevent the pan drying out, which may cause the asparagus or garlic to burn and stick.
The whole cooking process over a low heat should take somewhere between 15 to 20 minutes. Regularly check the pan and give everything a good stir before replacing the lid. If you can hear a sizzle, it is likely the pan is on too high a heat. The goal is to try and cook the asparagus spears until they are almost melting.
When done, the asparagus spears will be soft to the touch, and the garlic will be deliciously crisp and brown (but not black which is a sign of cooking too quickly).
Serve straightaway. Pan fried asparagus is a great complement to many main dishes, or it can even be served as a starter.