If asparagus, in it’s green, spring and well…grassy… personality fails to seduce you then try roasting it. You know I love roasting veggies. It’s the lazy cook’s secret. But asparagus truly transforms from sharp and grassy to sweet and luscious. Obviously if you start with the apex of asparagus, grown by Zuckerman Farms or Suncoast (both found at local farmers markets), you will have exceptional results. But even using supermarket asparagus, as I do here, the transformation is remarkable. I prefer using thicker stalks in the oven for the simple reason that there is more to put in your mouth after they soften and collapse into themselves.
This is what I do: Line a shallow pan with parchment or foil. Lay out the spears in a single layer and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. I put the asparagus into a preheated 400 degree oven and roast until they are no longer rigid and have nice caramelization over the stalks. Occasionally I’ll roll them over at the 15 minute mark. Generally the vegetable roasting rule applies. The uglier they are, the better they taste. And don’t worry about timing. The sweet softened spears are as tasty at room temperature as they are hot from the oven and require no additional garnish or dipping sauces. Usually I roast them for at least half an hour, sometimes more if they are very thick.