I am crazy about asparagus. I have to apologize to my husband for my love of the emerald green spears of spring. Sometimes he gives me the look of “asparagus again”?
Whether roasted, stir-fried, or pureed into soup, asparagus is fast and easy to prepare. It’s also a super healthy choice, low in calories and full of vitamins and fiber. That aside, I just love the taste.
An Easter tradition growing up, my mom used to dress asparagus with Hollandaise, a classic combination. While I love Hollandaise, it’s not low calorie fare, so I stick to the simplicity of roasting it with a little a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Leftovers make wonderful soup.
When shopping, choose spears with tight tips. Many markets store asparagus in a tray of water to keep them from drying out. I prefer medium thin stalks; not pencil thin, not fat, but somewhere in between.
The fat spears can be woody; very thin stalks seem to disappear. Plan for about 5 spears per person. When you get home, place the spears standing up in about in inch of water and cover them loosely with a plastic bag. They’ll hold for a few days.
To prep asparagus, hold the bottom of the stalk and bend it near the end. It should snap off where the tender part meets the tough part. It takes just a minute to snap the ends off a bunch. If you have a large quantity, snap the ends off a few spears to get an idea of where they are breaking, then line them up and cut them off with a sharp knife.
While you are getting the rest of dinner ready, place asparagus on a foil covered rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. That’s it. Roast for 3-4 minutes until crisp-tender. Timing will depend on the thickness of the spears.
After roasting, dress asparagus up with a sprinkle of crisped Prosciutto, grated Parmesan, toasted breadcrumbs, toasted chopped pecans or hazelnuts, fresh chives, parsley, or fresh lemon zest. Make it your own dish.
Of course, you can always opt for the classic sauce and serve with homemade Hollandaise, perfect for Easter or any spring dinner. For a healthier Hollandaise recipe, try the recipe I make with yogurt.
Simple, fast, and healthy, asparagus roasts in just minutes. Choose fresh, bright green slender spears with tight tips. Plan for 5 spears per person. Delicious garnishes are optional and dress the dish up for a special dinner.
20 spears of asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Several slices of Prosciutto, sliced thin crosswise and crisped in a non-stick fry pan
Few tablespoons of grated Parmesan
Few tablespoons of toasted breadcrumbs
Few tablespoons of toasted chopped pecans or hazelnuts
1 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh chives or parsley
1 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1) Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees (218 Celsius)
2) Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil
3) Place spears in a single layer in the baking sheet and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper
4) Roast for approximately 3-4 minutes until just pierced with the sharp tip of a knife. Roast to your own preference and tenderness.
5) Garnish with optional toppings as preferred
Helpful links on related recipes and tools:
Easy Blender Hollandaise from Simply Recipes
Yogurt-based Hollandaise, on this site
Good ideas from Weeknights Fresh & Fast by Kristine Kidd
Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Soy Browned Butter by Steamy Kitchen
Sunday Breakfast with Asparagus by White on Rice Couple
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