Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Roasted Asparagus

It's amazing to me that I can still find asparagus in the fall here. I still think of asparagus as a spring time only vegetable. I know that California grows many vegetables year round that just aren't locally available everywhere. However, you may find asparagus near you, too. It's not just California that's growing more vegetables. Greenhouse growing is becoming more popular all the time, so many vegetables are available year round.

This recipe calls for roasting asparagus in the oven, but I've also used a grill pan and achieved the same results. I've also added a "gremolata" at the last minute. Gremolata is an easy mixture of lemon zest, garlic, and salt. Topping sweet roasted, savory vegetables with this lemony mixture adds the final delicious touch.


1 pound asparagus

1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Break, or cut off, the tough woody ends of the asparagus stalks. You'll find that if you bend fresh asparagus, it will snap off so that the woody end is in one hand and the tender stalk is in the other. However, if you like a cleaner look, just cut off the end. Toss the asparagus spears with the teaspoon of olive oil, and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet or other flat ovenproof pan. Cook for 5 minutes, then test for doneness. Continue to cook until the asparagus is hot, but still crisp tender. I found that my fairly thick stalks took a full 15 minutes to cook.

While the asparagus is cooking, make up the gremolata. Remove the zest from a fresh lemon, by grating just the yellow part of the skin. Mix the zest with the garlic and the sea salt. Toss the cooked asparagus with the gremolata and serve.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Roasting brings out the sweetness in savory vegetables. You'll find the vegetables retain their fresh crunch, but have a depth of flavor that's hard to replicate by boiling, steaming, or microwaving. Roasting with just a bit of olive oil means that you won't need high calorie sauces, and can use a quick toss of gremolata to dress things up, without sacrificing the health benefits!

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