From Delia Smiths Vegetarian Collection. I add garlic to this so it is mentioned as an optional ingredient. If you prefer you can pan roast the asparagus instead of steaming them. Meant as a starter but can easily be served as a side dish.
- Wash the asparagus in cold water, then take each stalk in both hands and bend and snap off the woody end.
- Arrange the asparagus stalks in a steamer and steam over simmering water for 5-6 minutes, or until they feel tender when tested with a skewer, being careful not to overcook them.
- While the asparagus is cooking, heat 1 oz (25 g) of the butter in a frying pan, as soon as it is frothy, stir in the breadcrumbs, and garlic if using, and cook them, stirring constantly, until they're evenly browned and crispy.
- Then tip the crumbs on to a plate, stir in the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.
- Now put the pan back on to the heat and add the remaining butter.
- As soon as it is frothy, add the cooked asparagus and toss to coat them in the butter.
- Sprinkle with the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the asparagus between warmed serving plates and sprinkle with the crumbs, serve immediately.