Roasting richly-coated-with-olive oil asparagus in a toasty hot oven, brings out the sweetness in the beautiful spring vegetable. Whether the stalks are pencil thin or have cigar-size waistlines, this Ina Garten recipe is delicious and goes together quickly.
Tender from Tough: As for removing the woody ends, my mother broke off the tough ends one by one, holding each spear at opposite ends and bending it gently in half until it snapped approximately at the point where the tender part begins. It was a patient, Zen-like motion. Me? I cut off the woody ends with one fell swoop of my short-bladed cleaver. A rubber band bound bunch at a time, I sever leather from luscious.
Parmesan Roasted Asparagus
Yield: 6 servings
2 1/2 pounds asparagus, about 30 large, tough bottom portion cut off or snapped off and discarded
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
For serving: 2 lemons cut in wedges
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. If stalks of the asparagus are thick, peel them with a swivel bladed peeler. Place in single layer on rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Tilt pan and roll asparagus to lightly coat with oil. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Roast 15 to 20 minutes, or until just tender, shaking pan to rotate asparagus half way through roasting. Sprinkle with Parmesan and return to oven for about 1 minute to melt cheese. If you want to brown the cheese a little, slip it under the broiler for 30 seconds (keep an eye on it). Serve with lemon wedges.
Source: “Barefoot Contessa Family Style” by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, $35)