Patricia Wells' Asparagus Braised with Fresh Rosemary and Bay Leaves

By • April 22, 2014 9 Comments

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Author Notes: A vegan, 5-ingredient treatment for asparagus with a sneaky way of bringing out its sweeter side. All you have to do is ignore the season, and all conventional wisdom. Adapted slightly from Vegetable Harvest: Vegetables at the Center of the Plate (William Morrow Cookbooks, 2007).Genius Recipes

Serves 4

  • 16 plump spears (about 2 pounds) fresh white or green asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • Several sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Several bay leaves, preferably fresh
  1. Rinse the asparagus and trim the tough ends.
  2. In a skillet large enough to hold the asparagus in a single layer, combine the oil, asparagus, salt, rosemary, and bay leaves. Sprinkle with several tablespoons of cold water, enough to cover the asparagus by about one-third. Cover.
  3. Cook over high heat just until the oil and water mixture begins to sizzle.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and braise the asparagus, turning from time to time (leave the lid off or ajar -- by the time the asparagus is tender, the liquid should have cooked off), just until the vegetable begins to brown in spots, 8 to 10 minutes (depending on the thickness of the asparagus). Serve immediately.

More Great Recipes: Vegetables|Side Dishes|Asparagus

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Comments (9) Questions (0)


over 1 year ago Carol

Delicious! Would never pair rosemary with asparagus, but it was wonderful!


over 1 year ago Vicki

I found this recipe in Patricia's new edition of Food Lovers Guide to Paris and she garnished with lemon juice and zest, minced rosemary, thyme, parsley, fleur de sel, ham or sausage matchsticks and included a side of whipped ricotta. I made this for my family and they loved it however I left off the meat and ricotta. I included the lemon juice and zest and herb garnishes -- they added a special touch and flavor! I'm going to make the entire recipe including the ham or sausage matchsticks and whipped ricotta and serve at an upcoming dinner party.


about 1 year ago kasia S.

That's the only Wells book I have ( definitely time to get more) thank you for mentioning it :) I will check out what else she has in it. I love veggie dishes.


over 1 year ago salena

I thought this was extraordinary. A combo of my first pickings and supermarket spears (mine were sweeter). Instead of adding herbs to butter asparagus are already seasoned. They were wonderful. No browning although water evaporated and asparagus were perfectly cooked at that point (maybe 10 minutes).


over 1 year ago kidzcook

I just picked asparagus in my garden - I am making this for dinner!


over 1 year ago kidzcook

update - This was delicious! I left the lid on for 5 minutes, total cooking time about 12 minutes, lightly browned and oh so yummy.


over 1 year ago Miche

even with the olive oil, I don't understand why the asparagus would brown if there is enough water to cover by one third (and you cook covered, so it won't evaporate.)


over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Great question -- in turning the asparagus in step 4, I keep the lid off, so the liquid does cook off a fair amount and allow for browning. I'll clarify this in the instructions.


over 1 year ago Miche

Thanks, Kristen.