This simple recipe may be served on its own as a starter or as a vegetable to accompany fish, poultry, meat, an omelet, whatever. The key is to cook the asparagus until it is nicely browned, creating a slightly smoky flavor quite unlike that of steamed asparagus.
1 pound (500 g.) green asparagus
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
juice of 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the asparagus and trim off the ends, leaving spears about 8 inches (20 cm) long.
In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and butter to sizzling. Turn down the heat to medium and add the asparagus.
Using a broad spatula, turn the spears over from time to time until they are browned more or less evenly, about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus. The spears will remain mainly green, with patches of crispy brown. Check for doneness by tasting a spear. It should be tender but slightly al dente.
Sprinkle the asparagus with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and transfer to a serving platter or individual plates. Serve while hot. Serves 2 generously as a starter, and 4 as a side dish.