Ah, yes… asparagus.
A sign that Spring has arrived.
Certainly the promise of warmer days are on the horizon.
Over the weekend, we got blasted with yet another snow storm. On the first day of Spring, no less! Just when I thought we could put our boots away we were dragging brown, muddy snow all over the house. Again. And when I say ‘we’ I mean the lovely males of the house, cat included (my pretty white front door is covered in muddy paw prints).
But that didn’t stop me.
I braved the elements and found some beautiful asparagus on sale. They probably traveled over 20,000 miles to get to my plate, but I had to have them. They looked perfect. And at $1.99/lb I was feeling inspired.
How to Choose Fresh Asparagus
Don’t just grab any old bunch! That’s what I used to do. Asparagus should look shiny and firm with closed tips.
If they look dry or flimsy, pass. If you’re still unsure try snapping one in half; it should break instantly.
Colors: green, purple, and white
Green asparagus is the most common variety and can be found pretty much anywhere. Purple asparagus is a little more difficult to find, usually popping up at farmers markets when available. They’re sweet and less fibrous than the green ones.
And then there’s the coveted white asparagus. These guys are grown in the dark to maintain their pristine ivory appearance. They have a high demand which usually drives up the cost $$$. I haven’t tried white asparagus before but I’ve heard they taste similar to the green ones.
Sizes: skinny, medium, and fat
I like fat.
When in season, and depending on where they’re grown, they taste fresh and grassy. I’m convinced they’re more tender. Some of the best asparagus I’ve ever had were grown locally, here in NY. Regardless of size, it’s a matter of personal preference.
How to Cook Asparagus
As a kid, we used to eat them steamed with vinaigrette for dunking. I ate them so fast I would (literally) suck them down whole like a snake engulfing its prey. And one time I actually choked! I’ll never forget- my mom pulled it out of my throat with her bare hands in one dangly, stringy piece.
So, no steamed asparagus for us today. I chose to roast them in the oven.
And it couldn’t be easier: 2 bunches of asparagus, 2 cloves of garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper.
Dillon was happy to line up the spears on the baking sheet while I minced the garlic.
Ten minutes later, they were ready to eat!
And to finish, I drizzled them with balsamic glaze and shavings of parmesan cheese. This is optional but incredibly good. Serve with grilled pork tenderloin, steak or as a vegetarian main.
- Asparagus suffer from carry-over heat. I’m not sure if ‘suffer’ is the right word here but they continue to cook once removed from the heat. To combat this, I undercook them slightly to compensate.
- 2 lbs medium size asparagus, about 2 bunches
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- coarse salt & black pepper
- balsamic glaze (optional)
- parmesane shavings (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 425 F. Grab 2 rimmed baking sheets and line them with parchment paper.
- To prepare the asparagus, trim away the woody ends off the base, about 2 inches.
- Add the asparagus, olive oil and garlic to a large bowl. Toss well to coat.
- Divide the asparagus between the two baking sheets and spread them out in one single layer. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake for about 7-10 minutes or until almost cooked through. They will continue to cook once removed from the heat.
- To serve, drizzle with balsamic glaze and parmesan cheese shavings.