Crunchy almonds, lemon, orange and garlic add bright flavours to tender-crisp asparagus in this recipe for Charred Asparagus with Warm Citrus Sauce. Paleo, Whole30 and Keto-friendly!
It's asparagus season and the asparagus farm down the road from my home is thriving. When Denis came home with a big bag of fresh tender shoots, I made my favourite Dairy-Free Creamy Asparagus Soup and then began searching for something new, different and exciting to try.
I found a recipe in the latest issue of Bon Appetit, adapted it to our tastes, and I'm sharing this Charred Asparagus with Warm Citrus Sauce with you today.
Why would you want to char vegetables?
Charring brings out the deeper, darker flavours in vegetables and fruit. While it is highly suspected that eating charred red meat can be dangerous, lightly charring vegetables is not. Charring red meat may create chemicals linked to an increased risk of a range of cancers. These chemicals result when muscle meats containing protein are cooked at high temperatures.
While you would never want to eat burnt vegetables, giving them a light char is not a health risk. You'll love the result!
I broiled these asparagus spears to help bring out the deeper, darker flavours. Cooking this way creates a savoury smokiness. The outside of the spears blister a little and soften while the inside stays crisp.
How to trim asparagus
Recipes for asparagus always tell you to trim it. However, cutting the tough ends from the spears with a knife is not the best way to trim them. Instead, pick up an asparagus spear, bend it gently and the tough end will naturally snap off. But don't discard these ends! They're full of flavour! Save them for making asparagus soup.
Prepare this heavenly warm citrus sauce first by combining the ingredients in a saucepan on the stovetop. Then broil the asparagus until it begins to blister and develop brown spots. Top with crunchy toasted almonds, drizzle with warm citrus sauce and serve!
See complete instructions in the recipe card below.
Charred Asparagus with Warm Citrus Sauce
- 1 ½ lbs. fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 sprig fresh oregano
- 1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
- 1 tsp orange zest, finely grated
- 1 tbsp butter, (or coconut oil)
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- sea salt and pepper
- Heat oven to 375°F. Spread ¼ cup almonds on baking sheet and toast for 8 - 10 minutes or until beginning to darken. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, combine butter, 1 ½ tbsp olive oil, garlic, oregano, orange zest and lemon zest. Swirl occasionally and cook for 10 - 15 minutes or until garlic becomes golden brown and fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in orange juice, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, snap tough ends from asparagus spears. Save for another use.
- Heat broiler. Toss asparagus spears with remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Broil until they begin to develop deep brown spots and are crisp-tender. Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with chopped almonds and drizzle with citrus sauce. Serve warm.