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Quick-Braised Asparagus with a Dijon, White Wine,
and Fresh Thyme Pan Sauce
Recipe reprinted from Fast, Fresh & Green by Susie Middleton
with permission from Chronicle Books.
Serves 3
I won’t fool you; these asparagus look a bit rustic. But the browning
in this recipe pays off with deep flavor. The glazy pan sauce cloaks
the asparagus in even more flavor, and this is one tasty dish. It’s a
quick one, too—easy to do in less than 30 minutes. Serve it with
pork tenderloin and couscous on a weeknight or sear-roasted pork
loin and a grain pilaf on a weekend.

This method works best with asparagus that are of equal
thickness—medium or just slightly larger than medium. “Pencils”
will overcook. You can do this with jumbos, as long as the most of
the woody stem is cut off and you add on an extra minute of that the
pan is not overcrowded so that each piece can make contact with
the pan surface for browning. For this one, you’ll definitely want your
tongs handy for flipping the asparagus over. Also, cover the pan as
soon as you pour in the little bit of liquid; it reduces quickly, and it’s
the steam—captured by the lid—that finishes cooking the
1/4 cup/60 ml low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 bunch medium-thick asparagus, trimmed to 6-in/15.25-cm
lengths (yielding about 10 oz/285 g)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp roughly chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

Combine the chicken broth and white wine in a liquid measuring cup.

In a 10-in/25-cm straight-sided sauté pan with a lid, heat the olive oil and 1/2 Tbsp of the butter
over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted and is bubbling, add the asparagus and
salt and toss the asparagus well to coat. Arrange in one layer and cook, without stirring, until the
undersides are nicely browned, about 4 minutes.

Using tongs, turn each spear over and cook, without stirring, just until the other side is beginning
to brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully (they will sputter) pour the liquids into the pan and
immediately cover it. Simmer until the liquid reduces almost completely (1 or 2 tsp will be left),
about 2 minutes. Uncover, take the pan off the heat, and add the remaining 1/2 Tbsp of butter,
the thyme, and the Dijon. Stir gently with a silicone spatula to mix the mustard with the melting
butter and to incorporate any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer the asparagus
to a serving platter or plates and pour the pan sauce over it, scraping all of the sauce out of the
Susie Middleton, Cookbook Author
with Recipe Tester, Jessica Bard
Photography by Ben Fink.
BUY the BOOK click photo
bean salads in April of
2008.  The process of
making a cookbook is a
long one- even when you
are given tight deadlines!