A classic way to prepare one of Michigan’s quintessential springtime favorites.
There’s something to be said about “simple”. Some foods are just not fussy and are best eaten as close to their most natural, straight-from-the-garden state as possible. That’s how Mr. EN and I feel about asparagus. We have plenty of friends who prepare and enjoy asparagus in a multitude of far fancier ways than we do, but for us – simple gets the win.
Choose thick, fresh spears. Everyone loves the delicate thin asparagus spears when they’re cooked into an omelet or lightly steamed or stir-fried however, the skinny ones do NOT work well in this recipe. It’s easy to overcook them and they become tough and stringy. Buy thick sturdy spears from your local farm market if you can. The fresher the better. Thick spears will hold up to the heat, the tossing, and the time in the oven.
Rinse thoroughly. Asparagus thrives in sandy soil. Sand = grit under your teeth which is NOT pleasant. I find the best way to rinse asparagus is to trim the ends first, then submerge the spears in a large bowl of cold water. Gently swish the spears around in the bowl so any dirt or sand settles to the bottom. Remove the clean asparagus spears from the bowl and dry them (or let them dry) completely. Aren’t these beautiful? I got these from one of my workmates who grows them herself. Thanks Lori M.! Is there anything you can’t grow, raise, or catch?
Use a pan with a small lip. Vegetables roast best when you use a flat cookie sheet or a pan with a small lip, about an inch or less. If you try to roast veggies in a regular baking dish, with taller sides, the veggies will steam, not roast, and you won’t get any of that highly sought after caramelization everyone is talking about these days. Caramelization happens when the sugars (in veggies or other foods) are cooked slowly (oxidized) and essentially turn into a sort of caramel. Yum. This caramelization business is a really good thing so heed my advice and use the right pan for the job – please. 😊
Are you ready to give Simple Roasted Asparagus a try? If so, do it soon; while the fresh local stuff is easy to come by, inexpensive, and in tip-top shape.
Peace, love, and good eats; from our Empty Nest to yours.
Trending this week in the ENE kitchen: Spring veggies and herbs from your local Michigan Farm Market. Find one near you.
Simple Roasted Asparagus
Yield 2 large servings
- ¾-1 pound fresh asparagus (thick spears), trimmed
- 2-3 teaspoons good olive oil
- juice of ¼ fresh lemon (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Rinse the asparagus spears using the method in the post. If the ends are tough, cut them off and either discard or save for stock. Dry spears or let them air dry.
- Arrange the asparagus spears in a single layer on a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Toss to combine, thoroughly.
- Roast at 425°F for 10 minutes, then toss them on the pan so the underside flips to the top. Continue roasting, another 5-10 minutes, more or less, depending on your particular oven and how thick the spears are, until the asparagus are lightly browned and tender when you pierce them with a fork. (Optional - Turn your oven to broil the last 1-2 minutes of cooking for optimal browning but stay close so the asparagus doesn't burn.)
- (Optional) Drizzle with fresh lemon juice.