Most people prefer to cook asparagus in boiling salted water, and indeed this is how we as chefs were taught to cook it. However, it is now quite common to cook the asparagus in fat, a mixture of olive oil and butter. This produces a better result because the flavour molecules in asparagus are soluble in water, but not in fat, meaning when it is boiled it loses a large amount of its flavour. This won’t happen if you use this method.
- Place a saucepan big enough to hold all the asparagus spears over a medium heat and add the oil and butter, you do not want the butter to colour at all so keep an eye on the temperature.
- Once the butter has melted and mixed with the oil, place the asparagus in the pan and cook gently for about five minutes.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and continue to cook for another minute or two.
- Season the asparagus and add a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Cut a piece of the asparagus and taste it for seasoning and to check if it is softened to your liking – you want the asparagus with a slight bite to it. If you have the inclination (and the funds) some grated fresh truffle is a fabulous addition here too.
- Serve immediately with some fresh crusty bread to mop up the asparagus butter juices.
You will need:
- 24 spears of asparagus, trimmed and peeled
- 50g unsalted butter
- 50ml olive oil
- 10 button mushrooms, stalk removed and very finely sliced
- Salt and pepper
- Lemon juice