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Wildly Affordable Organic
by Linda Watson

You don't have to peel, bundle, or boil to enjoy this springtime treat. Instead, highlight the beautiful color and fresh taste of asparagus by cooking it very quickly in a skillet as you would for an Asian stir fry.
Active time: 7 minutes
Total time: 7 minutes
Makes 4 servings, 1/2 cup each



    • 1 garlic clove
    • 2 cups asparagus pieces, about 10 ounces
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
    • salt to taste
    • lemon zest, optional


1. Mince garlic and set aside. Trim about 1/4 inch from stalk bottoms to get rid of any dirty or damaged parts. Gently flex each stem so that it breaks just above woody part, usually 1/4 to 1/3 up the stalk. Cut tender stalks diagonally into bite-size pieces about 1½ inches long.

2. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stir once. Add bite-size asparagus pieces. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until asparagus is bright green and crunchy-tender. Remove from skillet so asparagus does not overcook.

3. Sprinkle with salt and lemon juice. Top with a little lemon zest for color if you want. Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any extra.

Notes: To zest lemon, use a fine grater or a knife to remove the peel's thin yellow outside. The white pith below is bitter.

This recipe comes from Karen Johnson, the first great home cook I ever met. She was a former New Orleans debutant who had moved to the North Carolina coast to raise goats and vegetables while her husband studied marine biology.

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