This is asparagus at its most succulent and beautiful! The key to this technique is cooking over low heat so the vegetables develop plenty of flavor as they get tender. The beauty of this recipe is that there's very little prep—you don't even need to pick up a knife—and you set the pan on the back burner while the asparagus cooks very gently with little babysitting.
Let your vegetables determine how long they need to cook: You'll see them turn vivid green as they cooks, and be sure to sample one or two stalks to be sure they're cooked to your liking. This makes four generous portions, but you’ll be surprised how fast it disappears!
2 pounds thick asparagus
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Snap the tough, woody ends (which you can save for stock) from each asparagus spear.
Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add asparagus, salt and pepper, tossing to coat. It's okay if you've got a couple of layers of asparagus in the pan. Cook 20-25 minutes, or until tender, stirring very occasionally so the vegetables cook evenly. Transfer to a platter, and keep warm.
Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add vinegar to the pan, scraping the pan to loosen any browned bits. Cook 1-2 minutes, or until vinegar is syrupy. Drizzle over asparagus.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes