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Pan-fried asparagus spears with lemon-caper relish on an oval platter.

Pan-Fried Cast Iron Asparagus

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  • Author: Alexandra Shytsman
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


The secret to the perfect pan-fried asparagus? Using a cast iron skillet.


  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound)
  • Fine sea salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated, crushed, or finely minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Rinse and pat the asparagus dry. Trim about 2 inches off the bottom of the spears and discard (these are too tough and fibrous to chew).
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and add the asparagus in a single layer* (see note below). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until the spears are bright green with a yellowish hue and nicely caramelized throughout, tossing every now and then* – about 5 minutes for pencil-thin asparagus and up to 10 minutes for thicker spears. For optimal browning, resist the urge to move the vegetables too often.
  3. While that’s happening, stir together all the other ingredients and the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small bowl, along with pinches of salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer the charred asparagus to a serving platter and scatter the relish on top. Serve immediately.


  • If the asparagus doesn’t all fit in a single layer, cook it in two batches. If your spears are too long for the skillet, halve them before cooking.
  • It’s best to flip them with tongs or just by shaking the pan.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
  • Calories: 85
  • Sodium: 150 mg
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4.4 g
  • Fiber: 2.4 g
  • Protein: 2.5 g