My favorite way to enjoy asparagus is to make steamed asparagus, dressed with a simple sauce of melted butter, lemon juice, and garlic.
Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables. I love its unique, delicate flavor. In fact, I like it so much that I sometimes eat it as a snack – simply sprinkled with salt or dipped in melted butter.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty side dish. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:
Fresh asparagus: I like to use medium thickness asparagus spears when making this recipe. I find that the very thick ones are not as tasty, and the very thin ones somehow less satisfying.
Melted butter: You can also drizzle the asparagus with olive oil.
Lemon juice: For the best flavor, use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Seasonings: Kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
How to steam asparagus?
It’s so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. Pour 1 inch of water into a saucepan. Fit a steamer basket into the saucepan. Bring the water to a boil.
2. Trim the asparagus. Place it in the steamer basket. Cover and steam until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes for thicker spears, 3 minutes for thinner ones (like the ones photographed here).
3. Season the asparagus with butter, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Don’t overcook it!
If the asparagus is ready before you are ready to serve it (perhaps the main dish is still cooking), you should still remove it to a serving plate. Cover it with foil to keep it warm.
It’s better to serve it crisp at room temperature than to overcook it in an attempt to keep it warm.
What to put on steamed asparagus?
I season it simply, with an easy sauce of butter, garlic and lemon juice.
I actually think that when asparagus is young and fresh, it’s delicious with no sauce at all – just a sprinkling of coarse kosher salt and black pepper!
Main dish ideas
Anything goes with this side dish. It’s truly versatile. But I usually try to serve it with a main dish that I can make on the stovetop, so that I don’t have to use both the oven and the stove. So I often serve steamed asparagus with any of the following main dishes:
How to store leftovers?
Leftovers keep in the fridge in a sealed container for about 3 days, but they won’t be as good as fresh.
I prefer to chop them cold and add them to a salad, such as this asparagus salad, rather than try to reheat them. Sometimes I wrap them in prosciutto slices for an improvised cold version of prosciutto-wrapped asparagus.
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- 1 bunch fresh asparagus, medium thickness (about 20 spears)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Pour 1 inch of water into a saucepan. Fit a steamer basket into the saucepan. Bring the water to a boil.
- Chop off about an inch from the bottom of the asparagus. There’s generally no need to peel them since we’re using medium-thickness spears, but if some of the spears are very thick or woody, go ahead and peel the bottom.
- Once the water has boiled, place the asparagus in the steamer basket. Cover and steam until the asparagus are just barely tender, about 5 minutes. Thinner spears will require just 3 minutes of steaming.
- Immediately remove the asparagus from the steamer and transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle it with melted butter and lemon juice, and sprinkle with kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Serve immediately.