Looking for a quick and delicious way to enjoy asparagus? This easy Pan Fried Asparagus recipe will cure your cravings. The savory combination of tender asparagus, flavorful shallot, and mellow garlic is a seasonal delight. Best of all, this recipe can be made in about 15 minutes, making it an easy choice for a delicious side dish, snack or component. This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and gluten free.
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An Easy Way to Cook Asparagus on the Stove
Pan Fried Asparagus with garlic is one of the best ways to cook asparagus on the stove top. Simple ingredients and minimal prep means you can prepare a nourishing and delicious recipe on the double! Enjoy as a side dish, snack or you can use it in other recipes as a component.
This Asparagus Recipe Is:
- Simple to Make
- Quick to pull Together
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Asparagus: Look for medium size asparagus spears with the tips tightly closed and no signs of flowering or wilting. Individual spears should be plump, firm to the touch and have smooth skin.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Use a good quality olive oil. I use California Olive Ranch.
- Shallot: These alliums are powerhouses of flavor. Added to the pan just before the garlic, cook them gently to bring out their best.
- Fresh Garlic: Just enough time in the pan allows the garlic to mellow its pungent raw flavor.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: A little squeeze brightens and pulls all the flavors together.
- Seasonings: Salt, fresh ground black pepper and optionally, a pinch of red pepper flakes bring out the best in this fresh asparagus recipe.
Quick Guide: How to Pan Fry Asparagus
Since asparagus is long and lanky, you’ll need a large non stick, cast iron or stainless steel pan, at least 10 1/2 inches (26 centimeters) to cook it in. This is my largest fry pan, so I cook a one pound bundle of asparagus in two batches. This way, the spears are not crowded, can lay flat and they fry rather than steam.
Use cook time as a guide rather than a determining factor for when the asparagus is done as thinner spears will cook faster than larger, thick spears. In summary, here’s how to cook asparagus in a pan (see recipe card for details):
- First, set your pan over medium heat. Add the oil to the skillet and let it come to a shimmer. Transfer half the asparagus spears to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and fry for about six minutes flipping the asparagus mid way. Transfer to a plate.
- Next, repeat with the remaining asparagus. During the last minutes of cooking, scoot the asparagus over and add the shallot. Turn the heat down, then cook for two minutes, gently sauteeing the shallots until softened.
- Last, add the minced garlic then the first batch of asparagus back to the pan, gently tossing all the ingredients together for about one minute allowing the garlic to gently cook and flavor the asparagus. Add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional) and gently toss again.
Transfer to a serving dish with lemon wedges and share as soon as possible as the asparagus cools quickly.
How Long to Cook Asparagus in a Pan
What to Serve with Pan Fried Asparagus
As a Side, this asparagus recipe pairs easily with main dishes. Here are some ideas:
- Artichoke Chickpea Vegan Crab Cakes
- Mediterranean Lentils with Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes
- Creamy White Bean and Mushroom Orzo
- Mushroom Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
As a Component, although Multigrain Toast with Avocado calls for oven roasted asparagus, you can pan fry instead! Pan fried asparagus is also quite tasty in savory oatmeal and with scrambled or fried eggs.
As a Snack, these pan fried asparagus spears can be prepped ahead, refrigerated and enjoyed individually. Although messy, they make tasty finger food snacks.
- Choosing Asparagus: Fresh asparagus should have a bright green color and firm, smooth stalks. Look for closed tips, not showing signs of flowering, wilt or mushy texture. Some grocers will store asparagus standing upright in cold water which is an ideal way to retain freshness. I like medium size asparagus for this recipe.
- How to Store Cooked Asparagus: Once cool, store your pan cooked asparagus in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can enjoy it warm or chilled. To rewarm, place it in a hot pan for just about 30 seconds each side.
- Trimming Asparagus: To trim asparagus, cut off the bottom, between 1-2 inches, of the stem. Cut a small piece off to test for texture. If it seems too woody, and not tender, cut a little more off. I find snapping asparagus takes way too much of the tender stem off.
- Freezer Friendly? This recipe is best enjoyed right off the stove. But it will store in the fridge for up to three days. I do not recommend freezing this recipe because it changes the texture of the asparagus too much.
More Recipes with Asparagus
- Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo Recipe
- Lemon-Dijon Asparagus and Pea Macaroni Salad
- Lemon Orzo Salad
- Garlicky Asparagus, Mushroom and Bok Choy with Noodles
Easy Pan Fried Asparagus Recipe
- 1 pound (450 grams) Fresh Asparagus Spears
- 4 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil divided
- 1 tablespoon Minced Fresh Garlic about 3 plump cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons Minced Shallot about one small shallot
- 1/4 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt divided
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
- Red Pepper Flakes optional
- Slice 1-2 inches off the ends of the asparagus spears. Assess to see if more needs to come off by testing a small slice. If it seems woody, cut off a little more from each stem.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a 10 1/2 inch (27 centimeters) skillet until shimmering. Place half the asparagus in the pan, in one layer. It's okay if they're touching. The asparagus should sizzle. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon of salt and a few twists of black pepper. Turn the heat to medium and pan fry for six minutes, flipping the asparagus over half way through cooking. Some charring is okay. Transfer to a plate. Set aside.
- Repeat with the remaining olive oil, asparagus and salt and pepper. When two minutes remain, scoot the asparagus over in the pan and add the shallots. Turn the heat to medium low and gently saute the shallots while the asparagus continues to cook. The shallot will soften and turn slightly golden.
- Add the garlic, then, the first batch of asparagus back into the pan. Now, using a spatula, gently toss and shimmy the ingredients being careful not to break/bend the asparagus. Cook just long enough just to take the raw flavor off the garlic, about one minute. The garlic will become fragrant and turn a creamy-golden color. Remove from heat.
- Sprinkle in the lemon juice and optional red pepper flakes, flip the ingredients again, incorporating the lemon and pepper flakes if using. Taste for texture, salt and pepper. If softer asparagus is desired, give it another 30 seconds on the heat before testing again. Quickly transfer to a serving dish and serve right away.
- To Store: Store in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to three days. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.