Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter

Finally!  The grocery store had spring, pencil thin asparagus.  My favorite spring vegetable.  

With Easter coming up, I thought I'd share this simple recipe for Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter.  This is a recipe that my sister-in-law makes and one we often request her to bring to family dinners.

It's quick and needs to be prepared last minute because it can over cook so quickly.  I generally prepare the asparagus as the family gathers for a blessing on the food.  By the time everyone is seated and the "amen" comes along, the asparagus is ready to serve.

You will need:
 2 lbs of pencil thin asparagus (because I like it thin)
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and pepper

Begin by washing the asparagus.

I like to place it on a towel to dry after snapping the tough ends off.

I couldn't quite manage a picture of where to break the asparagus since it required two hands and I need at least one to snap the picture.

Dry the asparagus.

Meanwhile in a small sauce pan, melt the butter.

Continue to stir the butter over low heat until it begins to brown.

Don't leave the butter unattended because it can burn quickly.  Let cool for  couple of minutes.

I let the butter cool a bit because if you add the soy sauce immediately after it browns the will spatter all over the place making a huge mess of your cook top.  

So after cooling a minute or so, add the soy sauce.

Then add the balsamic vinegar.

Stir to combine.

Drizzle the asparagus with no more than a teaspoon of olive oil.

I like to use my hands to make sure all of the asparagus are coated evenly with the oil.

Spread the asparagus on a griddle that has been preheated over medium-high heat OR you can place the asparagus on a baking sheet and place in a preheated 400 degree oven.  Both methods work great.

Take a good look at this salt.  I found it at my grocery store.  It's apple wood smoked sea salt.
A M A Z I N G !  I'm loving this salt on roasted vegetables of all kinds.  Especially roasted potatoes.

You can use kosher or sea salt.  I just wanted to show you my new love.

Sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon over the asparagus.

 Grind some black pepper over the asparagus.

Toss the asparagus to coat with the seasonings.

Cook over medium-high heat just until the asparagus barely begins to become tender.  

I found this quote about over cooked asparagus:

“One word, in this place, respecting asparagus. The young shoots of this plant, boiled, are the most unexceptionable form of greens with which I am acquainted.”   William Andrus Alcott (The Young House-keeper)

Remember that.  Over cooked asparagus is no bueno.

When the asparagus is almost as tender as you like it, pour the butter mixture over.

Toss it well to coat.

Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

I like to warm the platter that I'm serving it on so that it doesn't cool off so quickly.

Fresh, healthy and quick. 

I've been loving this folded into an omelet and served with the Lemon Arugula salad.  It's a great breakfast.

Asparagus = Love.

Another quote:

"Asparagus inspires gentle thoughts" by Charles Lamb

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter
Browning the butter gives the dish a slightly nutty flavor.

2 lbs asparagus, pencil thin
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees or heat a griddle or grill pan over medium-high heat.

2.  Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet; coat asparagus with cookie spray.         Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until tender.  If you are cooking this on a griddle it will only take about 5 minutes or so.

3.  Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.  Watch carefully because the butter can easily burn.   Remove from heat; stir in soy sauce and vinegar. Drizzle butter mixture over asparagus.  Tossing well to coat.  Serve immediately.  Makes 8 servings.

Optional cooking method:  Heat a large griddle over medium-high heat.  Arrange asparagus on hot griddle and cook until tender.  Follow recipe above.

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See.  I can do quick and easy recipes.  Not ALL of my recipes require 100 steps!


  1. I am also an asparagus lover. This looks delicious!

    1. Then I'm sure you'll love this. Thanks for your kind comment.

  2. I can't wait to try this for Easter! Although it still might make my kids cry. Delicious grown-up food tends to do that.

    1. Delicious grown up food makes my husband cry. He's such a big baby. I have to force him to eat and least one spear of asparagus. THEN he does this annoying chew that he does when he's trying not to let something hit his taste buds while telling me that I'm mean. My children have grown up and love it, but I'm still waiting for the husband to. Loved your comment. Thanks for the additional link...loved it!

  3. this asparagas looks so healthy..but sadly i couldn't find it in my place..

    1. That is sad :( You have amazing flavors in India that I don't have in my place. How can we combine our countries so we can have everything we want?

  4. Hello, thanks for your wonderful recipes.
    Do you really think that, with all that butter, these asparagus are really healthy? Olive oil may make a healthy choice, I believe.

    1. Of course a good flavored EVOO would be healthier. The browned butter is just another layer of flavor. It's your choice.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. I have an Nikon D80. It does all of the work for me. I just point and click. Seriously have no idea what I'm doing. But thanks that means so much to me.

  6. Made this for dinner tonight, Janet, and my boys said it was good...for asparagus. That is high praise coming from them. As for me and the hubby, we almost fought for the last few spears. He graciously gave in and let me have the last man!

    1. Hahahaha. The cook ALWAYS gets the last of anything. Thanks for sharing.