The Best Roasted Asparagus – How I Love Thee
Fresh spring asparagus, how I love thee. Let me count the ways. Delightful shaved raw into ribbons for a salad with almonds and pecorino cheese. Luxurious roasted, puréed and folded into risotto. And absolutely sublime when thick spears roast on one side only in a very hot oven becoming crisp and slightly smoky flavored, yet remaining juicy and tender. What a combination. Today, this week, and perhaps all month I’m making The Best Roasted Asparagus.
Most often we’ll enjoy it with only a sprinkling of flaky salt. Other times, a few pitted Kalamata olives will be added to the roasting pan. And, occasionally I’ll get a bit fancy, adding a dollop of Salsa Verde (Classic Italian Green Sauce).
Following this easy recipe for The Best Roasted Asparagus, you just can’t go wrong. It will always be juicy, crisp, flavorful and outstanding. Though, let me amend that sentence, with dried out and tough asparagus, it won’t be that good.
Join me in Bozeman on Saturday, May 6th
Celebrate Spring Healthy Cooking Class, featuring the bright,vibrant flavors of Spring.
Click here for the menu and information on how to register.
Note: The Best Roasted Asparagus is on the menu.
Buy the freshest asparagus
- Look for tightly closed tips (flower buds) and check the bottom ends for moistness.
- If the tips are opening or showing signs of spoilage, or the bottoms are very dry, the asparagus is past its prime. Do pass it by.
- Using less oil and less peeling à la Chang.
- Upping the oven temperature, reducing waste by cutting off rather than snapping off the bottom, and roasting only one side of the asparagus à la Cooks’ Illustrated.
With these few changes, this recipe really does make The Best Roasted Asparagus.
Thick or thin asparagus?
- Although we tend to think that thinner asparagus must be younger asparagus, it’s not so. The size of an asparagus spear doesn’t increase in width as the spear grows.
- Thicker spears actually come up from the crown (or root bed) of younger, more vigorous plants.
- There’s also no real connection between the width of asparagus spears and their tenderness.
Winter in Spring
Thought you might enjoy a photo of the gorgeous scene we woke up to, two mornings in a row last week. And since it is spring and not winter, after a couple of hours the sun came out and the flocking was gone. We enjoyed blue skies and sunshine for the rest of the day. Just another Montana Spring.
The Best Roasted Asparagus – Juicy, Crisp, Flavorful, Outstanding
Thank you both Cooks’ Illustrated and Chef David Chang for your suggestions for roasting asparagus. So many options for serving roasted asparagus. Though, one of the best is also the easiest. Simply dusted with a sprinkling of flaky salt.
Serves 2-3 Printer-Friendly Recipe
Active Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
1 pound fresh, large asparagus spears at least ½ inch in diameter
1½ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
8 twists freshly ground black pepper
Maldon or other flaky or coarse salt
- Place an oven rack in its lowest position. Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place the lined pan on the lowest oven rack.
- Rinse and dry the asparagus spears. Cut off all the white at the bottom, or 1 inch from each spear. Then use a vegetable peeler to peel the bottom 2 inches of each spear, revealing the pale greenish-white flesh.
- In a platter or baking dish, toss the asparagus with the olive oil, salt and pepper until evenly coated.
- When the oven has reached 500 degrees, arrange the asparagus in one layer on the preheated and lined baking sheet. Return the pan to the oven’s bottom shelf.
- Roast the asparagus for 11-12 minutes depending on the thickness of the spears. After 11 minutes use the tip of a paring knife to test the bottom of one or two of the largest spears. If there is no resistance, remove the roasted asparagus from the oven. Otherwise bake for another minute and check again.
- Transfer the asparagus, roasted side up, to a serving platter. Sprinkle with flaky or coarse salt and serve.