Warm Asparagus with Gremolata
Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables. Each year, I look forward to spring, when asparagus is at its freshest and sweetest, with deliciously bitter undertones.
About this Recipe
Gremolata—a mixture of parsley, lemon, and garlic—is like a mouthful of springtime. It couldn’t be simpler to make, and it adds a bright and exciting flavor to anything it accompanies – it goes well with grilled meat, poultry, or fish; as a topping for fresh vegetables, or served over a soup. You can add olive oil to thin it out and create a dressing, or toasted breadcrumbs for a pleasant crunch.
It goes beautifully with asparagus, which you can steam, roast, or grill for this recipe. This dish works as a first course, or as an accompaniment to just about any protein.
- 1 pound steamed, roasted, or grilled* fresh asparagus, tough ends discarded
- 1 large fresh lemon (well washed, since you will be using the skin – organic is best)
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 cup (60g) finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
- Juice from half a lemon
- Pinch of Maldon or kosher salt
- Optional: ¼ cup (15g) panko breadcrumbs, toasted in 1 tablespoon (15g) olive oil
Step by Step Instructions
Using a microplane, grate the lemon zest into a shallow medium bowl. Add the minced garlic and chopped parsley, and stir to combine. Or, using a mortar and pestle, grind these ingredients into a paste.
In a serving dish, drizzle asparagus with fresh lemon juice, then add gremolata and toss to combine.
If desired, you can add toasted panko, which lends a pleasant crunch to the dish. Simply heat olive oil in a small nonstick skillet, add the panko, and stir for 2-3 minutes, until the panko is evenly browned, and sprinkle atop the finished dish.
To roast or grill your asparagus: Toss lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper. To roast, preheat your oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Spread the asparagus in an even layer in a lined sheet pan. Roast for 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Or, grill over an open flame until charred in spots but still crisp.
To steam: Arrange asparagus in a large skillet with ½ cup (120 mL) water. Cover, turn heat to medium-high, and steam for 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender but still bright green. Drain, dry asparagus with a clean kitchen towel, transfer to a serving dish, and season lightly with salt.
Tip: Remember that the very ends of the stalks of asparagus are tough, woody, and inedible. Bend the asparagus toward the end of the stalk, and it will snap just above the inedible part. Discard the woody ends prior to using.
Pairing wine with asparagus is a wine expert’s white whale—it’s an industry preoccupation to determine the ultimate pairing. The reason it is challenging is that asparagus itself can alter wine into something… weird. Chlorophyll and several acids in the vegetable can make wine taste metallic, dank, and all-around not ideal. With that being said, people sometimes discuss New Zealand Sauvignons as having an asparagus note. A Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc would be a good wine to sit next to this Warm Asparagus with Gremolata to introduce a similar vegetal taste to the meal.