This is a simple and classic way to cook asparagus when the ones you can find are fresh and thick. I both trim and peel them, to make the entire stalk tender and edible, but you can definitely skip the peeling step.
I like pan-frying the asparagus until just slightly brown and still firm—sort of like “al dente”—as they will continue to cook and soften as they cool.
The garnish of hard-boiled eggs and capers is a tried-and-true combination that also works in other recipes—try it on avocado toast, smoked salmon canapes, or potatoes. I avoid the popular addition of minced onion or shallot, as their strong flavor and aroma, while perfect in so many other dishes, will overpower the delicate asparagus in this one.
I love serving this at an elegant spring lunch with smoked salmon and blinis, or at a picnic with other finger foods, such as sliders and grilled shrimp—the point being that it can be both an elegant dish and a casual finger food. Brilliant, I say!
- 2 eggs
- 2 pounds thick green asparagus, trimmed (about 1 inch from the bottom) and peeled (starting from 1 1/2 inch below the tip)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the eggs for 8 minutes. Rinse them under cold water, then peel and grate them on a cheese grater (or finely chop with a knife). Set aside.
Drizzle the asparagus with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix carefully so as not to break the spears.
In a large (10- to 13-inch) non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook the asparagus in batches, turning them occasionally, until just slightly browned all over, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter.
To serve, drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the asparagus, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle the grated hard-boiled eggs and capers on top, and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve warm or at room temperature.