Pan-Roasted Asparagus

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, Published March 1, 2005  
Makes 4 to 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium cloves garlic , sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds thick asparagus spears (see note), ends trimmed
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 lemon (optional)


Step 1: Heat the olive oil and sliced garlic in 12-inch skillet over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is crisp and golden but not dark brown, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer garlic to paper towel-lined plate.
Step 2: Add the butter to the oil in the skillet. When butter has melted, add half of asparagus to skillet with tips pointed in one direction; add remaining spears with tips pointed in one direction. Using tongs, distribute spears in even layer (spears will not quite fit into single layer); cover and cook until asparagus is bright green and still crisp,about 5 minutes.
Step 3: Uncover and increase heat to high; season asparagus with salt and pepper. Cook until spears are tender and well browned along one side, 5 to 7 minutes, using tongs to occasionally move spears from center of pan to edge of pan to ensure all are browned. 
Step 4: Transfer asparagus to serving dish, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and toasted garlic, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, and, if desired, squeeze lemon half over spears. Serve immediately.