Follow these tips on how to saute asparagus, for a fabulously tasty result every time.
Sautéing asparagus lets it sear in the pan, giving it some of the crispy char I like best. This vegetable is loaded with flavor and can be seasoned to pair beautifully with just about any entree.
Keep these tips in mind when making sauteed asparagus:
First, clean and dry the asparagus. Then, trim off the bottom inch or so of each spear–this is the woodiest part of the vegetable. Cut the spears into uniform pieces so they cook evenly.
If you have larger in diameter or “older” asparagus go ahead and use a vegetable peeler (I like this one a lot!) and just take off that outside layer. This is the part that can get tough and woody as it grows.
Second, heat the pan before putting in the oil. Because we’re cooking with a medium-high heat, it helps to use an oil with a higher smoking point instead of butter.
Third, let the asparagus rest long enough to give them a proper sear. The best-tasting spears will have browned or blackened areas on the outermost edges. If you tend them too frequently, they’ll cook through without searing.
How to Saute Asparagus
Follow these directions on how to saute asparagus:
Prep the Asparagus: Clean the asparagus spears. Dry them well to prevent wet spears from steaming instead of sauteing. I tend to slice mine on the bias for visual appeal.
Prep the pan: Get out your largest skillet or sauté pan. Put the pan on a burner, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Let it heat up for 1-2 minutes.
Toss frequently: Pour 1-2 tablespoons of oil in the pan, depending on the amount of asparagus you plan to saute. Then, add the chopped asparagus spears.
Sauté comes from the French word sauter (to jump) because of the way it moves the food. Many cooks use the pan itself to toss the vegetables.
But, if you’ve experienced messy spills like me, you can use a utensil to stir the asparagus or tongs to turn them. Just remember to let them sit long enough to brown before you start tossing them.
How Long to Saute Asparagus
Not sure how long to saute asparagus? Probably less time than you’d think. The spears should reach tender crisp in 4-5 minutes or so.
Give them a taste test at 4 minutes. It should be tender crisp and have none of the grassy taste of raw asparagus. If it’s not there yet, give it another 30 to 60 seconds and try again.
I try to saute them until they are crisp tender. But, if it’s a choice between flavor and texture, just like with green beans, always prioritize flavor.
How to Saute Asparagus
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound asparagus cut into bite-size pieces
- ½ tablespoon kosher salt adjust to taste
- ¼ tablespoon pepper adjust to taste
- Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Add oil and asparagus to the pan. Saute the asparagus about 4-5 minutes, tossing frequently while cooking.
- When asparagus is tender-crisp, remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.