Posted by: Rachel | July 5, 2011

texas two-step…

OK, maybe it isn’t exactly local or even possibly sustainable, but sometimes I really have no choice. When I saw this asparagus, well, it just sort of inveigled its way into my reusable bag. I mean, I’m all about supporting the local folks, just ask anyone, but wow…

plate of very skinny asparagus

one of these things is not like the others...

I suppose I shouldn’t really call this “Texas” two-step since it is a system/recipe I learned in France. But, I figure since I’m making it here rather than there… well… let’s just call it “artistic license”, okay?

Anyway, this is really simple, really fast, and works just as deliciously with skinny green beans. Oh, and you can make it ahead an hour or more. Also, since it is best at room temperature or just barely warmed, and there is no scary mayonnaise in it, it transports very well for picnics pr potlucks.

All that is involved is cutting off the bottom maybe two inches of the asparagus (or trimming the beans), steaming, then sautéing (two cooking steps, right?). Easy enough? I make a whole bunch of asparagus at once, then I can use it in salads or chopped up with pasta, or on pizza (more on this in a later post at some point, oh my!) or just as a snack out of the fridge!

Here’s more specifically “how-to”:

Texas Two-Step Asparagus

1 pound of fresh asparagus, trimmed
cold water to steam
2-3 T olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
fresh lemon for juice and zest

Put the asparagus in a steamer over cold water, cover, then turn the heat on. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat slightly and steam the asparagus over simmering water. Check starting at 2 minutes from when the water boils for skinny asparagus like this, or at 3-4 minutes for thicker stalks (insert a sharp thin knife into the base of a stalk or two – mind the steam!). When it is about 1/2 cooked, still al dente, remove from heat and uncover.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add the garlic and sauté until the garlic is just turning golden. Add the asparagus (use tongs and be careful – it can spit!) and toss to coat. Cook for maybe one more minute and just before it seems done enough, remove from heat (remember: you can always cook things more). The asparagus will continue to cook a bit as it cools.

in the steamer

gettin' steamy

sautéing the asparagus

panning out

ready to eat


Toss with a bit of lemon zest and a drizzle of lemon juice. Serve at room temperature or barely warmed for best flavor.

Honestly, the whole process takes maybe 10 minutes – barely time for the kitchen to heat up! This makes a nice starter course, or a yummy adjunct to fish, chicken, pretty much anything!

How do you fix your asparagus? Please share!



  1. What a cool idea. I normally end up grilling or roasting mine, will have to try this.

    • Grilling is great also, but its just too hot to cook outside! And, roasting is tasty but my oven heats up the kitchen. If you like it crispier you can broil it at the end for a minute or so… mmmm!

  2. Simple, delicious and tastes even better eaten with your fingers!

    • Ah, you know my little secret 🙂 This really is finger-licking good!

  3. Wonderful, simple and delicious! And must be eaten with your fingers. Those skinny spears look like the wild asparagus we get here in spring – I just put them in boiling water and simmer for a few minutes then serve with olive oil, lemon juice and maybe a little chopped garlic.

    • Do you “harvest” your own or do you buy it at the marché? Here at the moment I can get either this skinny stuff (which I love) or the fat white-stalked asparagus (which I love too :-)) Mmmm!!

      • We pick wild asparagus – it grows on the hills around the village and even in the uncultivated parts of our garden. We can also buy cultivated asparagus in the market. Both are delicious, but there’s something special about the spears you’ve found for yourself!

      • Yes, for me there’s a certain joy in forage – harvesting that is even more fun than “look what I grew”… it brings out the gatherer for sure!

  4. Just happen to know how delicious Rachel’s version is … mmm!

    Here’s one of my stand-bys …slice the aspargus on an angle about bite size (2″?) and saute in olive oil (or butter) with sliced mushrooms and a sprinkling of dill weed. When the aspargus are that pretty bright green and still a bit crunchy add some grated swiss cheese and toss until melted and veggies are coated. Serve right away as a side … or this makes a great filling for a crepe!

    • Oooohhh I am so gonna try this next time! Mmmm indeed!! 🙂

  5. I learned from a restaurant long ago that an great way to cook asparagus is to bring a big pot of salted water to a boil, throw the veggies into the pot, bring it back to a boil and after 1 min remove and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. It makes them BRIGHT green and al dente.

    • Another thing that I know is that soy sauce can bring the color up a shade or two… I have no idea why or how it works, but it does. Makes green beans and asparagus and even broccoli even brighter green. Weird, hey?

  6. […] surely know that “left-overs” are actually opportunities in my kitchen. Remember that asparagus? Well, after eating several batches pretty much out-of-hand I was wondering what I could do with […]

  7. Asparagus is delish and so under-appreciated.

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