Pan-Fried Asparagus with Grass-Fed Butter & Parmesan Cheese - The Rising Spoon

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pan-Fried Asparagus with Grass-Fed Butter & Parmesan Cheese

One of my favorite techniques for fixing asparagus is pan-fried with grass-fed butter and seasonings until barely tender. By pairing asparagus with a quality fat like pastured butter, ghee, or extra virgin olive oil, your body can absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, K, and E that occur naturally in this yummy springtime vegetable.
My friend Trisha from the blog, Eat Your Beets, came up with a brilliant idea to start a monthly blog circle focused on educating people about vegetables. Each month we pick a seasonal vegetable and all the participating bloggers create a recipe featuring it. From there we each link to another food blogger until the circle has completed. This way anyone using our sites to learn about the vegetable can click through to each blog in the circle and get inspiration for using the seasonal produce. 

This month's seasonal vegetable is none other than—ASPARAGUS! I was particularly excited to start out with this vegetable because it's one of my absolute favorites. No joke. I can eat a whole bundle or more all by my lonesome. And lucky for me, my boyfriend isn't a huge fan. That means whenever I cook it, practically the whole bundle belongs to me! 

Health Benefits of Asparagus

Anyhoo, if you're looking for more reasons to eat asparagus (other than the fantastic taste), here's some tidbits to win you over:
  • low calories and carbohydrates
  • high in vitamin A, K and folate
  • moderate amounts of vitamin C, E, thiamin, fiber and protein

There are many more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than what I listed. Read more here

I could easily eat asparagus plain—no seasoning, no sauce, no nothing. That's how much I love it. However, for the purposes of converting all you lovelies to the green side, I'm sharing a more popular way to eat this vegetable —pan-fried and drenched in butter! Cooking asparagus with bacon and roasting the spears also works beautifully, but we'll save that for another time. 

A cast iron skillet is the perfect tool for uniform, even heating that will cook the asparagus quickly without over-heating the butter. Don't have a cast iron skillet? Get one here. Cast iron is affordable and lasts a life time (or two) if you care for it properly. Plus, the skillets are great for whacking bad guys over the head!

Why Grass-Fed Butter?

Now back to the asparagus drenched in butter. It's not just any butter. It's grass-fed butter. That's the good stuff! Know what's so great about it? It starts with the cows. The cows feed on only grass. It's what they eat naturally. They love it. Their stomachs can easily digest it. Unlike GMO-corn or soy grain, which is hard for them to digest. Despite this, most cows are not fed grass. :( 

Because it's organic, that means the cows were not fed anything with pesticides and neither were they treated with artificial growth hormones. Most regular milk (and other dairy products) comes from cows that have been treated with these hormones. So...because organic, grass-fed butter comes from a healthy, happy cow that's eating quality ingredients, it produces damned good butter that's healthy for you to eat. Want to know more? Read this article on butter

It's Important to Eat Asparagus With a Healthy Fat

Oh, and one more thing. Asparagus has several fat-soluble vitamins in it. Specifically, vitamins A, K and E. In order for your body to absorb these vitamins, you need to consume the food it's coming from with healthy fat. So think twice before nixing the butter or oil, folks! Read Nourished Kitchen's article for more information about fat-soluble vitamins

Back to the asparagus. It's in season during the spring, so now is the perfect time to experiment with it. It should be readily available (probably on display) at grocery stores and farmers markets and inexpensive. If some store is trying to sell asparagus for $5-6 a bundle while it's in season, tell 'em to screw off and go somewhere else! :) With that said, I recommend stocking up now so you can freeze and cook with it later in the year.

Update (April 2015): Our group decided to end the monthly veggie series awhile back since we were contacted by a gal who was trademarking that phrase. I have the okay to leave these posts up as is, so feel free to browse through them for dinner inspiration. I will continue to publish vegetable side dish recipes, just not as a part of this series. :)

Check out the other veg-ucation recipes: cauliflower, zucchini, cucumber, Hatch chile, butternut squash, and pumpkin.  

Pan-Fried Asparagus with Grass-fed Butter and Parmesan Cheese
Asparagus, a popular springtime vegetable, is pan-fried with grass-fed butter and seasonings til barely tender then topped with shredded Parmesan cheese. By pairing it with a quality fat like pastured butter (made from milk from cows fed primarily with grass), your body can absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, K and E that occur naturally in asparagus. 
Serves: 2-4 

2-3 tablespoons of organic, grass-fed butter (like this BUTTER or this BUTTER)
1 bundle of asparagus, woody ends removed
Granulated garlic, to taste (or use fresh, minced garlic cloves)
quality sea salt, cracked black pepper and crushed red pepper, to taste
1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese

Recommended Equipment

Heat a seasoned cast iron skillet to medium and add the butter. While that's melting, wash the asparagus and snap off the woody ends. The easiest way to do this is hold each spear at the tips and apply downward pressure. The asparagus will break naturally. 

Discard the ends. Add the asparagus to the pan and try to adjust them in an even layer. If the pan's too small for that, no worries. You'll stir the spears around anyway. Using tongs or a your preferred cooking utensil, rotate the spears so they're coated in butter. 

Season to taste with granulated garlic, sea salt, cracked black pepper and crushed red pepper. If you prefer to use minced garlic, that's fine. Just make sure to watch the heat so it doesn't burn. Cook the asparagus until it's barely tender,  approximately 5-10 minutes, depending on the the asparagus' thickness. (If you cook it too long it'll get soggy). Turn off the heat and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Let it melt, then serve.

I'd like to hear from YOU!

What's your favorite way to cook & serve fresh asparagus? 

One of my favorite techniques for fixing asparagus is pan-fried with grass-fed butter and seasonings until barely tender. By pairing asparagus with a quality fat like pastured butter, ghee, or extra virgin olive oil, your body can absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, K, and E that occur naturally in this yummy springtime vegetable.

Don't miss a post! Want my real food recipes, kitchen tutorials, DIY crafts, and healthy living articles (like this) delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up for free email updates!

P.S. Keep Reading! More Recipes From The Rising Spoon:

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. However, I ONLY recommend helpful products that I myself would use. And I'm really picky about what I share with you guys. Because I myself am super choosy about what I buy and consume. Recommending products that I love or want to own helps me cover the costs of running this blog and keep providing you with free, helpful information. And it costs nothing extra for you. Thanks!

Elaina Newton is the creator, writer, and foodie behind the blog, The Rising Spoon. She's a self-taught cook and passionate about spreading basic cooking skills and information about real foods. She loves reading fiction, crafting, video games, dark roast coffee, cats, and rainy days. Connect with her on Pinterest, Facebook, Google +, and Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment