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Pan-Fried Asparagus with New-Season Morels

From Paul Gayler's A Passion for Vegetables: Simple and Inspired Recipes from Around the World (The Lyons Press 2003).

Serves 4

1 pound asparagus, trimmed by snapping off the tough ends

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 pound fresh morels, rinsed in cold water and drained on paper towels

3 crushed garlic cloves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the asparagus. Blanch for 1 minute, then drain well.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pan, add the asparagus and saute until lightly golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the asparagus from the pan and keep warm. Heat the remaining oil and butter in the pan, add the morels and saute 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute briefly. Stir in the parsley and balsamic vinegar. Season well, then pour the morels over the asparagus and serve immediately.

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