A dizzying array of complications have kept me from posting lately. Most have now calmed down…thank goodness. After the Thanksgiving standards, I’m back to a regular menu. A recent dinner was a family favorite – Chicken Parmesan and Roasted Asparagus. Roasted asparagus is so, so much tastier than the typical steaming methods. If I’m not preparing asparagus on the grill, roasting is my next choice. I do prefer asparagus when it’s in season. There’s nothing like perfect, skinny stalks fresh from the farm. But – the plumper, tougher stalks of winter can still be satisfying with the right preparations. I’ll address the Chicken Parmesan another day…for now, my rules of roasting asparagus!
Rule number 1: Store the spears upright in an inch or so of water in the refrigerator. It will last a lot longer this way. You will be pleased with the elimination of wimpy, limpy asparagus 🙂
Rule number 2: Never cut the ends. The ends of the asparagus spears are meant to be snapped off. Simply hold one end of the spear in each hand, bend, and voila – the spear will trim itself exactly where needed. Asparagus is one smart veggie!
Rule number three: When dealing with the plumper, tougher stalks of winter put your vegetable peeler to work. The outer portion of the stalk tends to be the toughest so simply peel it away. Removing those pinkish, thorny looking growths make a huge difference in the taste.
Rule number 4: Season with olive oil, salt and pepper prior to roasting for perfection. I don’t measure – I just go by eye. Drizzle the spears with olive oil and toss gently with your hands to thinly coat. Fresh cracked pepper and sea salt finish the prep.
Rule number 5: Roast in a hot oven. I roast at 425°F, for about 10 minutes, turning at the 5 minute mark. However, the time depends on the thickness of the stalks, so keep a watchful eye. If a fork or small paring knife can easily pierce a spear it’s done.