Roasty Toasty Asparagus

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I know what boys like, and it's certainly not long and green and it certainly doesn't make your pee smell funny. As far as they know anyways. In what looks like a life-long quest to make M get any vitamins at all, I'm learning to cook up vegetables (or sometimes not even cook! God forbid) in a way that makes them almost unrecognizable as part of the dreaded food group. Obviously, going veg meant that we were going to have the 'eat-your-vegetables' convo A-LOT. Since I started roasting though, I swear sometimes he doesn't know what hit him. Asparagus is a good place to start roasting because it's so versatile, and despite being a bit tricky to get 100% the way you want it, it makes for a pretty good side dish no matter how wet or charred it turns out. Believe me, I've tested the extremes of both of those categories only to determine that asparagus is always ALWAYS salvageable.

Preheat your oven to 450.

For the easiest roasting, just toss as much frozen chopped-in-half asparagus (arctic gardens for the win) as you like in a tablespoon- to two- of your favorite olive oil (for a really exciting evening, try a flavored one like basil or hot chilis). If you have the luxury of fresh asparagus, you might want to blanche it first, for easier (read, faster) roasting. Alternately, if you want'em really 'done', steam your asparagus over boiling water (using your steamer thingy), or cop out and boil it in a frying pan filled with 1-2 inches of water (flipping with tongs) for about 2 minutes; this will surely result in softer asparagus post-roasting, but that's certainly not always a bad thing. But be forewarned, boiling your vegetables (not to mention some of our other quick-fix vegetable habits) tends to rid them of their most nutritional qualities, so you if you've got the time, do steam them, for your own good . If you're a lemon person, toss in a squeeze to your own taste. Otherwise, minced garlic might make a nice addition. To top it off, I like a serious dose of fresh ground pepper on just about everything except ice cream. Personally, my favorite seasoning is a sea-salt/lemon-zest/dried chillies blend that I sprinkle VERY lightly over the whole shabang. Delicious, but watch that sodium boys and girls. It'll getcha.

To save your pan/cookie sheet from permanent charring, line it with foil, and spread your lightly seasoned asparagus on the pan or baking dish. Generally, try to keep them from touching each other too much (this is science that maximizes deliciousness). Roast at 450 abouts on the middle rack for 15 minutes or so. After this, I generally move my dish up to the top and broil the asparagus for another 10-15 minutes or so. That being said, times will entirely depend upon your oven and preferences, so the first time you do this, I recommend you watch with bated breath through the oven window and get a tan.

Asparagus cools down WAY too fast so you basically have to eat/serve this right away, though when I miss my window for serving it hot, it makes a fantastic addition to roasted baby potatoes and white beans in olive oil as a non-creamy pasta salad that offers up not only a veg, but a LEGUME! wild.

Now just make sure he doesn't pee in the shower. Enjoy!
-A

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1 Response to Roasty Toasty Asparagus

August 27, 2010 at 10:39 PM

Wow, you make asparagus almost seem romantic! We actually got into them recently and a friend of mine showed me how to roast them. Delicious!

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