Comfort Food · Easy · Food · Recipe · Sides · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Braised asparagus.

I have no idea how to plan my wedding.  I don’t even know where to start. I don’t know when I’d like to have it, even, and Jim foresees a wedding a bit farther in our futures than I do; though I’m not, honestly, even sure of that—I’m not sure that I don’t want to have a long engagement, except for the nervous but-does-that-leave-enough-wiggle room-in-my-engaged, married for a handful of years before having kids-life plan? and I’m not a life planner. I don’t even know that I want kids.

Getting engaged makes me feel ridiculously ill-prepared for adult life and I’m honestly running on the knowledge of things I’ve seen on TV and the ability to stick fingers in my ears, clamp my eyes shut, and hum until it all goes away.

Though I only feel that way when I start wedding planning; when my heart starts beating a little bit too hard, and I begin to sweat.  Because I can go all day thinking about the food and the fun we’ll have but the logistics, I’m not ready for them yet.  So for now, I’ll stick to braised asparagus and that warm, comforting feeling that I’m a fiancée who will be able to make a damn-good dinner for her husband, even if she needs to stick fingers in her ears, clamp her eyes shut, and hum over everything else.

Braised asparagus can surely comfort and it’s especially good for these cold spring days we’ve been having, when braised asparagus with slices of gruyère is much more appropriate than quickly blanched stalks with lemon.  By braising, you get all of that deliciously woodsy asparagus flavor, it’s just a little quieter, sleepy maybe.  The dark green color is a good indication of the taste—darker than quickly cooked asparagus, less biting but deeper too.  And really, really good.  Good enough to make me feel a little weepy and happy that I have some braised asparagus around to give me a warm, green hug.  (Though nothing beats a hug from my fiancé.)

Braised Asparagus with Gruyère Cheese

serves 2-4

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 big shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup water
  • salt, pepper
  • gruyère cheese
  • parsley, tarragon, basil, or mint, optional

Trim asparagus, peeling the ends if they are large stalks.  Mince shallot and garlic together.

Heat butter in a pan with a lid over medium-high heat, add shallot mixture and cook for a minute, until they are softened.  Add asparagus, water, and season with salt and pepper then cover pan with lid.  Cook until asparagus are very tender, 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice gruyère very thinly, using a cheese slicer or y-shaped vegetable peeler if you have one.  Chop herb or your choice, if using.

When asparagus is tender, transfer to a plate, pour remaining shallots and sauce over, and arrange cheese slices on top.  Season with herbs, salt, and pepper to taste.

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23 thoughts on “Braised asparagus.

  1. Gorgeous photos! Looks so good!
    I come from a non-traditional lot so there were no traditional weddings in my family but I sorta want one.
    Looking forward to seeing how your planning goes. I feel like people start with magazines, or picking a date and booking a venue but who knows! I bet yours is going to be uber stylish with the best local food!

    1. Ulla, I’d love to see your family’s weddings–every thing about you guys seems so fantastic!

      P.S. If you haven’t seen photo’s of Ulla’s farm, people, go do so!

  2. Robin, I totally understand how the words “wedding planning” can give you heart palpitations. I felt the same way. So, we decided to have a destination wedding. Then, I realized that going somewhere without any guests is just as much work!

    We got married courthouse style, and I don’t have one shred of the regret I thought I would. No regret at all. We got together with our friends very casually, had a great time, and it was so easy. Plus, you don’t even have to plan it so much as just do it.

    Meanwhile, I am going to serve this asparagus to Da Hubz, and look like a genius. Great recipe!

    1. Oh, you are so wonderfully reassuring, Appo! It’s nice to hear about the happy-small events, since Bridezillas and uber-weddings seem to be all you hear about nowadays. And don’t worry, the asparagus secret can stay between you and me. ; )

  3. I have to admit I don’t envy you for planning a wedding. Like the previous two gals, Steve and I had no big traditional wedding. It was just 25 or so people at his aunt’s house, with an ordained friend of the family officiating in a very simple ceremony. I think a big wedding would be fun, but I’m like you – screw the logistics (WORK).

    Going to check out Ulla’s site…

  4. I’m totally up for talking more about this—it’s really important to enjoy being engaged and not be weighed down by the planning, and to really plan what you want, not what you’re SUPPOSED to have. I would really, really, really not start with magazines. The magazines are very much about what you’re supposed to have—which might be what you want, but it might not! Start with each other, start with thinking about what will be fun and meaningful!!

    The asparagus looks lovely. I bough two bunches and ate them ALL by myself last week, I just was craving that green so much. But I’ve never braised them and it just sounds so velvety and good.

  5. I hear braised, and I am instantly intrigued. I have an entire bundle of asparagus that I bought on Sunday that I STILL have not used yet. Unfortunately, it better keep until Monday (when I get to cook again).

    Congrats again on the engagement! Happy planning…it can be so intimidating….

  6. Do they have that white asparagus in NJ? When I lived in Germany everyone thought it was the best — and it was good. I don’t remember ever seeing it in the US; on the other hand, I just wondered what you thought of it.

    I like this recipe. I love gruyère, although it’s very expensive in Norway. For the price of a pound of gruyère I could buy a five-year-old car (with an engine).

    1. They do have white asparagus here, though whenever I see it it’s way too expensive.

      Gruyere is expensive there? We’ll have to send you some!

  7. As someone who planned every detail of her wedding three years ago, I’d recommend starting with a guest list—It will help determine your budget and location options. The rest of the details will take shape from there. Have fun! (Oh, and the asparagus looks great!)

  8. If I could help you wedding plan, I would. But being on the other coast doesn’t help matters out sadly 🙂 If you want a wedding cake tester though, I will book a flight ASAP!

  9. Well, it was really lovely even though I did my best to screw it up. I couldn’t visualize how to eat the gruyère with the asparagus, so I put the plate in the microwave for 20 secs and melted it. It was a mistake, I see that now, everything became the same texture instead of having that nice contrast.

    Everyone was very interested in how someone like me could make such a sophisticated dish, though. I had to confess it came from my imaginary friend.

  10. Good looking asparagus. I love it that way. I like to use Parmesan and roast most times.

    I feel you on the weeding planning. I am in my sixth year and my wedding day is still very familiar. We hired a planner and wrote checks. It ended up being extremely stress free, for as much as a wedding can be.

  11. I’ve always been a schemer/planner, especially when it comes to birthday, graduation celebrations, etc. However, I think when the idea of “wedding planning” comes to mind, I have the exact SAME reaction. Maybe it’s because I don’t even know if a wedding is something I want/can forsee in my future. Oh well. Best of luck to you my dear. I know that whatever you plan, the food and company will be perfect.

  12. I know how you feel — the nitty gritty of planning a wedding was not my favorite part of my engagement! Hang in there and just enjoy being googly-eyed and engaged…you’re getting hitched even if a super-typhoon comes to wreak havoc on the wedding party (which is what happened to me! And my wedding was on an island…phew!)! Enjoy nights like this of brasing asparagus and imagining the lovely meals you will cook as a married couple 🙂 Good luck and take it easy!

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