Asparagus is a healthy and delicious food that can be cooked in a variety of ways, but some of the best results come from baking it with butter. Asparagus has a natural affinity for butter that creates rich flavors that can’t be duplicated by any other fat. The combination also allows you to create a lot of different recipes that use delicious sauces and ingredients. You will find that baking asparagus is one of the easiest things you can do in the kitchen, and the results far exceed the amount of work involved. Even people who don’t think they like asparagus will find themselves begging for more when they try it baked with butter. We’ve written out a very basic baked asparagus with butter recipe that can be adapted to your tastes.
What You Will Need
Here is what you will need to create four servings of asparagus as a side dish:
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- cooking spray (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
Preparing for the Oven
Before you do anything else, set the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature creates a nice golden-brown color without burning. By the time you have finished preparing everything else, the oven should be heated. While the oven is heating, prepare a baking tray or dish by coating it with cooking spray or a very thin layer of butter. This will prevent the asparagus from sticking to the tray while it cooks.
Trimming the Asparagus
The first step to preparing asparagus is to make sure that it is trimmed at the appropriate point. If you don’t trim the stem far enough, you will end up with a woody stalk that is not very pleasant to eat. If you cut too much off, however, you will be sacrificing perfectly good asparagus to the trash or compost bin. The most common way to trim asparagus properly is to cut the stem at its natural breaking point. You can find this location by bending the stem at opposite ends until it snaps.
Here is a video that shows another good way to trim asparagus
After trimming, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s clean by running the stems under some cold water. Residual dirt can occasionally stick to the stems through packaging process. Make sure to pat the asparagus dry before continuing.
Baking the Asparagus
Before placing the asparagus in the oven, lightly coat the spears with cooking spray, oil or melted butter. Spread the spear across the baking tray and sprinkle a few pinches of salt and pepper over all of the spears. Place the tray in the oven and set the timer for 12 minutes. Take the asparagus out when the spears are lightly browned and tender. This may take longer than 12 minutes if the asparagus is thicker than normal.
Preparing the Butter
As most people know, butter comes in a solid form unless you make your own fresh butter at home. This means that you have to prepare the butter into liquid before you can pair it with the asparagus. The best way to do this is by melting the butter in a small sauce pan on low heat. Some people may want to melt it in the microwave, but this makes it harder to add extra flavors. Once the butter is liquid, you can add things like roasted garlic or balsamic vinegar to give the whole dish a lot of extra flavor.
The last step needed to complete the asparagus is to simply pour the butter on top of the baked spears. This will create a delicious combination of flavors that go great with fish, steak or chicken. Baked asparagus with butter can also go well with a variety of pastas, pastries, quiches and as a side at any holiday meal.