Asparagus – griddled

new season asparagus

new season asparagus

May 6th, 2013

I was delighted to find Asparagus at the farmers’ market yesterday. The season is short, April 23rd to June 21st for the UK and it’s late this year! Asparagus is at its very best when freshly picked, so I urge you to buy it from a farmer rather than a supermarket. I’m grateful for the effort Martin the farmer makes, in picking  the day before market, so that it’s as fresh as possible, short of growing it myself.



Asparagus can be simmered, steamed, barbecued, etc. Last night I cooked it simply in a griddle pan. Rub the pan with a tiny splash of olive oil and heat it until it’s just smoking. Cook the Asparagus on the hot griddle for 4 or 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Test it with a fork to see if it’s tender (it should be served al dente), there’s no need to cook it until it’s charred.



My favourite accompaniment is Hollandaise Sauce. This can be made several ways – my favourite is with a red or white wine vinegar reduction – see here for the recipe. There are some simpler methods combining butter, an egg yolk and lemon juice, which are very good and quick, though to my mind the taste and texture reminds me slightly of lemon custard. There’s a very good analysis on Hollandaise recipes and methodology here. On a busy day I just wrap the asparagus in foil with a little butter (or olive oil) and chopped garlic. It cooks in the oven in 5 – 10 minutes, while something else is roasting.

Serve a crisp white wine with Asparagus and Hollandaise, such as Mâcon-Villages or Sancerre.

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34 Responses to Asparagus – griddled

  1. Mmmm I love this simple way of cooking asparagus and how griddling it concentrates the flavours, and perfect with hollandaise.

    • Mad Dog says:

      I don’t buy the imported stuff, so it’s a real treat at the start of the season and I could almost eat hollandaise on it’s own 🙂

  2. Tessa says:

    I love fresh asparagus! I’ll be sure to pick up a bunch on my way home this afternoon!

    • Mad Dog says:

      I have been counting the days to the first asparagus – I usually walk past Martin’s (the farmer) stall and buy eggs before the vegetables. Yesterday I was hoping for asparagus and didn’t notice it, as there wasn’t much. I was very pleasantly surprised to go back and find some 🙂

  3. How delicious! The fat white stuff is in season here at the moment, but I prefer your thin green ones, especially fresh, as you say. I steam them lightly then put them on the barbie – that smoky, charred effect is especially appealing to us veggies! Served with melted butter and pepper. Finger lickin’ good! Tonight’s dinner in fact…

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Fiona! I’m no expert, but I was once scared of putting asparagus straight on the barbie or into a griddle pan in case it didn’t cook well. But I have discovered (for me) that it doesn’t need any pre steaming and still comes out tasting amazing. Though it would depend how high the flames are 😉
      I wasn’t saying, above, that there shouldn’t be any charring, it depends on the heat – more I was saying that the asparagus can be tender without necessarily looking blackened. My father always wanted to burnt everything to a crisp, so I’m keen to state that things don’t have to be that way…

  4. peasepudding says:

    Lucky you, asparagus season! I’m with you on the Sancerre when I can get it here without breaking the bank

  5. ChgoJohn says:

    Quick, easy, and delicious. I can’t think of a better way to prepare asparagus. And you’re right. Get them now from the farmers markets and use them quickly. Delicious!

  6. Eha says:

    Another avid asparagus lover here: spring has not sprung without it and artichokes! Hmm: what you show me is a ‘grill pan’ and yes I do grill asparagus on occasion [that ‘other word’ is not in our everyday vocabulary 🙂 !] , tho’I far prefer it steamed! Actually as a child I was taught to eat it with tiny steamed early spring potatoes and Westphalian ham, which I have since changed to prosciutto, jamon or coppa 🙂 ! Thanks God our normal seaason lasts about two months!!!

  7. Mimi says:

    Sancerre is one of my faves! Beautiful asparagus dish! Simple and delicious!

  8. We’re in the land of white asparagus here, which is not my favourite. I always associate it with German food, but there’s plenty of it in the Vendee. Hopefully we’ll see some green asparagus in the markets soon.

  9. Good work! I’ll be eating as much as I can whilst it’s still in season here. Lovely.

  10. andreamynard says:

    I’m loving asparagus at the moment too – we’re lucky to have a farmshop just down the hill from us where they grow their own asparagus – it’s £1.49 a round at the moment and very freshly picked. Would still love to plant a bed though as it’s one of those veggies that benefits so much from being as fresh as possible. Love your style of cooking it.

  11. Perfect and I love it with hollandaise or melted butter 🙂

  12. Michelle says:

    We’re in the midst of asparagus season here, too. Hooray! I think I hear the Hollandaise calling.

  13. expatchef says:

    Ooooh…Craig, I see we’re on the same wavelength! Love hollandaise, but never make it. I need to have some soon!!!

  14. cecilia says:

    at the moment we are eating asparagus every day, i even grab a few stalks to munch on as we walk, raw is so much better than cooked, I love hollandaise too, but always make it the quick way, I shall go back now and read your methodololol ogy thingy link and see how to make a better sauce. excellent.. c

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Cecilia – I bet you do – you must have loads! I’m not saying one type of Hollandaise is better than the other, just that I like it made with reduced wine vinegar 😉

  15. Karen says:

    I love asparagus and simply prepared like you prepared it is my favorite.

  16. You’ve reminded me how good asparagus is when it’s griddled. I’ve just bought some today, so this is how we’ll eat it. The season is coming to an end here, but I can’t complain as we’ve been eating wild and then cultivated since early March!

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