Asparagus Bathed in Green Butter

Asparagus Bathed in Green Butter

I’ve watched my family and friends get asparagus wrong for years and I cannot take it anymore. So listen up: Asparagus needs to be cooked at a high heat for a short period of time. End of story. Don’t put skinny stalks on a baking sheet and slide them into a 350°F oven for 20 minutes—unless you actually prefer limp, stringy stalks to crisp, green ones. For me, asparagus cooked slow and low is most similar to asparagus in the can and I don’t know a soul who gets excited about that.

Even more than roasting or grilling at a high temp, this recipe’s method highlights the green, beginning-of-spring taste that’s unique to asparagus. A lot of us believe that boiling vegetables is the worst way to cook them, but it’s not if you pay attention, set a timer, and think of it more as a blanch than a boil.

I’ve chosen to puree the LGD here because I like the way the butter combines with the smooth sauce. But if you’re not feeling the blender, that’s okay: Chunky green butter is fine. Also, if you’re serving this as part of a meal, cook the asparagus last. This dish is far better warm, and a re-boil in almost every situation is a bad thing.

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  • ÂĽ cup Little Green Dress (see below)
  • 1 bunch big thick asparagus, tough ends trimmed away
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Flaky salt, for finishing


  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water up to a rolling boil.
  2. Puree the LGD until completely smooth in your blender. Transfer to a large bowl and add the room-temp butter.
  3. Just before you’re ready to eat, drop the asparagus in the boiling water and cook for 1 minute only. Using tongs and taking care to drain off as much water as possible, transfer the asparagus to the bowl holding the butter and LGD.
  4. Toss the hot asparagus and watch the butter melt and make a green sauce. Position the asparagus on a platter and pour any remaining green butter over the top. Sprinkle with flaky salt and serve right away.

Little Green Dress


  • 2 medium shallots, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • â…” cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted
  • 1½ tsp. capers, rinsed
  • 2 oil-packed anchovy filets
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1 cup packed)
  • 2 (½-ounce) packages fresh mint (about ½ cup packed)
  • ½ cup tasty extra-­virgin olive oil
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ÂĽ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt


  1. In a small food processor, mince the shallots and the garlic, then stir them in a small bowl with the red wine vinegar. We want them to pickle a bit, so give them all some privacy for about 20 minutes before you add them to the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Meanwhile, mince the pitted olives, capers, and anchovies in the food processor. Transfer to a medium bowl. Pick the leaves and smaller stems from the parsley and the leaves from the mint and mince in the food processor; it may take a little while to get them all fully processed. Transfer the herbs to the bowl with the olive mixture.
  3. Add the vinegar-shallot-garlic mixture, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, hot sauce, and salt to the bowl with everything else. Stir it all together and let this vinegary puddle of green sit for a minimum of 30 minutes before you bathe in it. LGD will keep for a month in a sealed container in your fridge as long as all the green stuff is submerged in just a bit of olive oil.

Excerpted from This Will Make it Taste Good by Vivian Howard.

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