Steamed Asparagus with Balsamic Butter and Pine Nuts

Steamed Asparagus with Balsamic Butter and Pine Nuts
Recipe Type: Side Dish
Serves: 3-4
Perhaps the best way to honor the delectable simplicity of tender-crisp, just-steamed asparagus spears is to prepare them with a light touch. In this recipe a touch of butter makes the bright green spears glisten, a sprinkling of tangy-sweet balsamic vinegar brings out their sweetness, and a scattering of crispy nuts complements their unique silky-firm texture. This is elegant—and a cinch to prepare. Friend of the Farm. Excerpted from Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables: Seasonal Recipes and Stories from a Community Supported Farm by Farmer John Peterson & Angelic Organics (Gibbs Smith Publisher). Check with your local farm or bookstore for availability. Additional recipes, charts, signed copies of this book, and quantity discounts available at
  • 11/2 tablespoons pine nuts or slivered almonds
  • 1 pound asparagus, tough ends peeled or snapped off
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts or slivered almonds. Toast the nuts on the dry skillet, stirring constantly, until they are lightly browned and begin to smell toasty, 3 to 5 minutes. (Be careful not to overtoast them, as they will burn very quickly once toasted.) Remove the skillet from heat and immediately transfer the nuts to a heatproof dish. Set the dish aside to let the nuts cool completely.
  2. Place the asparagus in a steamer basket, set over 1 1/2 inches boiling water, and cover. Steam until the spears are tender-firm, 4 to 7 minutes depending on thickness. Remove spears from the water and arrange on individual plates.
  3. Combine the melted butter and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Pour this mixture over the asparagus and sprinkle on the toasted nuts. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.