Asparagus is a lovely sight to see: it means that Spring has finally sprung, and for the few weeks that these tender spears are around, they dominate the menus at local food restaurants, and hopefully, your kitchen! They make a great starter, a wonderful additional to a salad, can be grilled, roasting or puréed into soup. Good accompanying flavors are lemon, parmesan, garlic, almonds and strawberries.
Trim the ends and wash away any grit
Cut or snap off the root-ends from the asparagus, and reserve these for stock or soup. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the skin from the stalk if you have a particularly thick bunch, leaving the tips and two or three inches at the top of the stalk.
Blanch & Shock
Drop the asparagus into boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the boiling water to ice water. Wrap in a towel until ready to use. These simple blanched asparagus can be served cold in a salad or reheated to
Preheat your oven to 400.
In a mixing bowl, toss raw asparagus spears with a bit of olive or sunflower oil to coat and some salt and pepper. Optional, a minced clove of garlic as well. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer, without overcrowding, onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake about 12-15 min (depending on thickness) until they’re just tender. Optional add some grated parmesan in the last minute or two on top. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
If your asparagus spears are already blanched (see above), toss them in oil and and pop underneath the broiler for just a few minutes till they begin to crisp and sweeten up. Or if your grill is all set up, put them over high heat for just a minute a side, 2 min total.