Sunday, April 4, 2010

Roasted Asparagus

The weather is starting to get better when you see the first spears of asparagus stalks start to show up on the produce shelf.
I love the taste and the sweetness, yes, the sweetness, of these stalks of green goodness. When I was younger my love for these buds from the ground was about as low as the ground they emerge from. I was victim to the common mistake that most people did to asparagus, boiling them soooooo long that they turn into this grey-green pile of tastless mush.

But times have changed and ideas have shifted to understanding that this stalk can go from green to culinary gold. One of the secrets is to roast them either on a grill or in the oven. When you roast them instead of boiling them, the spears start to release some of their moisture to concentrate the starch into sugar. Yum!
Here is a good way to roast you next batch.

Ingredients

2 bunches medium asparagus
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated or shaved Parmesan, optional

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Trim the woody ends from the asparagus, usually about 1 1/2 inches. Lightly peel the remaining stalks (not always necessary, but more of a personal preference). Spread the spears in a single layer on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and roll to coat thoroughly.
Roast the asparagus until lightly browned and tender, about 8 to 10 minutes, giving the pan a good shake about halfway through to turn the asparagus. Arrange the roasted asparagus on a serving platter and top with some Parmesan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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