Asparagus Piccata

Asparagus Piccata is just the easy side dish recipe you’ve been looking for to use some of the summer’s bounty. Tender asparagus is charred until tender and dressed in a rich, velvety lemon butter sauce. It’s a dish easy enough for any weeknight meal yet fancy enough for guests.

White platter with asparagus piccata - asparagus sauteed and dressed in a lemon, butter, and caper sauce. Top Side View.

I like to serve this alongside my copycat recipe for Kenny Roger’s Roasted Chicken, Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad, and Italian Amaretti Peaches for a summertime dinner that your family will love!

Green, purple and white asparagus sprouts on metal board closeup. Top view flat lay.

All About Asparagus

Asparagus is a herbaceous perennial plant that is part of the lily family. It has long, thin stalks with a pointed tip of small, scaled leaves. It is considered a springtime vegetable, but with imports from China, Peru, and Germany, Asparagus can be enjoyed year-round.

It takes about 3-4 years for the asparagus to grow to 6-8-inches when it can be harvested. Its flavor is earthy and grassy, sometimes bitter or nutty. The taste depends upon where the variety of asparagus, age, and cooking methods.

White platter with asparagus piccata - asparagus sauteed and dressed in a lemon, butter, and caper sauce. Top close up View.

Varieties Of Asparagus

  • Green – this is the most common type. It has a mild, earthy flavor with a hint of sweetness.
  • White – most common in Europe. It gets its pale color because farmers cover the spears with dirt until it’s harvested. White asparagus tends to be thicker and tougher but slightly sweeter than green asparagus.
  • Purple – Sweetest and most nutritious of the asparagus varietals. The purple color is a result of anthocyanins. It maintains an earthy flavor with notes of almonds and grass.

How Does Age Effect Asparagus?

The flavor profile changes depending on when the asparagus is harvested. When harvested early, the stalks are thin, tender, and sweet. The older and thicker the stalk becomes, the more sugar depletes, and the flavor lessens and becomes woodier.

White platter with asparagus piccata - asparagus sauteed and dressed in a lemon, butter, and caper sauce. Top View.

Cooking Methods

How you cook asparagus will affect the flavor profile.

  • Boiling, blanching, or steaming will bring the earthy, grassy notes forward. The taste will remain close to its raw flavor.
  • Sauteeing, grilling, or roasting enhances the sweetness, especially with caramelization from the higher heat source. It will also decrease bitterness and grassiness.

Ingredients Needed

  • Lemons
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Asparagus
  • Dry white wine (I used a buttery chardonnay)
  • Chicken base – use a good quality base. I like Better Than Boullion because it isn’t as salty.
  • Butter
  • Black pepper
  • Capers – be sure to rinse them to remove most of the salty brine, or else your piccata will be too salty.
  • Fresh parsley

Steps To Make Asparagus Piccata

  1. Slice one lemon, juice, and zest the other.
  2. Sear the asparagus in olive oil on all sides. Remove the asparagus to a plate.
  3. Sear the sliced lemon and add the wine, chicken base, butter, pepper, capers, and parsley.
  4. Cook until the flavors have combined and the sauce has thickened slightly,
  5. Toss the asparagus in the sauce. 
  6. Plate and serve.
White platter with asparagus piccata - asparagus sauteed and dressed in a lemon, butter, and caper sauce. Side View.

More Asparagus Recipes To Try

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Asparagus Piccata

Asparagus Piccata is just the easy side dish recipe you’ve been looking for to use some of the summer’s bounty. Tender asparagus is charred until tender and dressed in a rich, velvety lemon butter sauce. It’s a dish easy enough for any weeknight meal yet fancy enough for guests.

  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Saute
  • Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

Scale

2 lemons

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 pounds asparagus, trimmed

½ cup dry white wine

1 teaspoon chicken base (I used Better than Bouillon)

4 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons capers, rinsed

½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Slice one lemon into slices.

Use a microplane to zest the other lemon, then juice it. Set aside.

Add the olive oil to a large skillet over high heat and war until shimmering and very hot.

Add the asparagus in a single layer. Work in batches if needed.

Cook until the bottom has begun to char – about 4 minutes.

Flip the asparagus and cook for another 4 minutes to char the other side.

Transfer the asparagus to a serving dish and tent with foil to keep warm.

Return the skillet to high heat and add the lemon slices.

Cook for 60-90 seconds, undisturbed, to char the lemon. Flip and char the other side.

Reduce the heat to low and add the wine, chicken base, butter, pepper, and capers.

Cook, stirring for 3 minutes.

Pour in the lemon juice and add the lemon zest.

Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. 

Add the parsley and cook until the parsley is well incorporated and has started to wilt – about 1 minute.

Taste and adjust the sauce for salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce over the asparagus and toss lightly OR add the asparagus to the skillet and toss in the sauce before plating.

Serve hot.

Keywords: asparagus piccata, side dish recipes, asparagus recipes, capers, lemon butter sauce, piccata sauce, lemons