What’s cooking today: Asparagus with Parmesan butter

Tony Jackman’s asparagus with Parmesan butter, on a grainy-textured off-white plate by Mervyn Gers. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Always one of the best ways to cook and eat the wonderful fresh green asparagus spears we get at this time of the year. So simple and easy to cook, yet it has an unmistakable gourmet quality.

Asparagus, butter, Parmesan. That’s a menage à trois made in Foodie Heaven. The asparagus needs to be bright green, having been simply blanched and then refreshed in cold or iced water. The butter needs to be just melted. And the Parmesan freshly grated. Simplicity on a plate.


4 or 5 green asparagus spears per portion

2 Tbsp butter per portion

2 Tbsp finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano per portion


You’ll notice that I don’t add salt or pepper. Asparagus really doesn’t need them, and the Parmesan gives the dish any saltiness you might want.

Snap the spears and discard the hard ends that break off. Trim the scales off. Heat water to boiling point and plunge them in. Immediately turn the heat down a little so that they don’t boil too violently.

One minute should be enough, perhaps even a bit less.

Drain them in a colander and pour very cold water over to refresh them and set the green colour. If you don’t do this the green will turn from bright and perky to dull and weedy.

Melt all the butter (for all the portions) in a pan. Put the blanched and drained spears in and toss them gently in the hot butter for a few seconds.

Arrange on plates, grate Parmesan over, and serve. That’s as ideal as a spring starter could be. DM/TGIFood

To enquire about Tony Jackman’s book, foodSTUFF (Human & Rousseau) please email him at [email protected]

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Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.


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