This 5-Minute Jacques Pépin Recipe is My New Favorite Way to Eat Asparagus

I ran across a video of legendary chef Jacques Pépin making a simple asparagus dish with a butter sauce and knew I had to have the recipe for my spring suppers. (It would also be awesome for Easter.)

To make sure I could get the recipe just right, I chatted with Pépin about the recipe and also about all things asparagus. As with many classically simple French recipes, technique is everything.

And the attention to detail starts at the store. When making this dish, it’s important to choose fat spears of asparagus with tight heads. Next, you prep the veggie. I peeled the bottom portion of the asparagus, which is Pépin's preferred method, and now mine, too.

<p>Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel</p>

Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel

Once your asparagus is prepped, you heat 1/4 cup of water and a little bit of salt in a skillet. Add the asparagus, and cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, which is all you need to create tender, vibrant green spears. Add some pepper, butter and oil and bring to a boil to emulsify the sauce. If you cook the asparagus to your liking, but the sauce is still too thin, you can remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon and continue to reduce the sauce, whisking to an emulsion, then pour it over the asparagus.

Jacques' asparagus in butter sauce was easy and delicious (just make sure not to overcook it). The result was tender asparagus with not even the slightest hint of woodsiness—not one spear (and I would know; I ate the entire recipe myself!).

Recipe courtesy of Jacques Pépin

<p>Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel</p>

Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel

Jacques Pépin's Asparagus in Butter Sauce


  • 10 fat asparagus spears with tight heads

  • ¼ cup water

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • Chives, minced (optional)

1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the lower third of each asparagus spear, snap off the base and discard; cut the remaining spears into 4 pieces each.

2. Heat the water in a medium (8-to-9-inch) skillet over medium-high heat; add salt and the asparagus. Cover and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add pepper, butter and oil and bring to a strong boil to emulsify the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.