Roast Asparagus

by Sally on March 20, 2011 · 8 comments

in Holiday Dishes, Side Dishes, The Daniel Plan, Vegan Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian Dishes

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”?

Asparagus – A Healthy Choice

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 classic Hollandaise, it’s not low calorie fare and full of saturated fat, so I stick to the simplicity of roasting it with a little a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Leftovers make wonderful soup.

How to Buy Asparagus

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.

How to Roast Asparagus

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. For a healthier Hollandaise recipe, try my recipe based on yogurt.

Roast Asparagus

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.

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 20-24 spears of asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional Garnishes

  • 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

Directions

  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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