Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables. Every spring my mom would serve it several times as part of our supper meal. Usually it was after an afternoon of asparagus hunting. We lived in southern Minnesota and would start the hunt in the spring. Dad drove slowly along the country ditches and those of us that came along would keep an eye out for asparagus. When we saw what looked like a patch he would stop. Mom and he would get out, walk down into the ditch, and come back with fresh, green stalks of asparagus. I loved it, and it was fun looking for just the right patch that no one else had found yet.
After we picked our fill we took it home, where Mom cleaned it and added it to our supper meal. Usually she boiled it, but sometimes she served it creamed. Both ways, it was kind of mushy – aka a little overcooked. But I didn’t mind. I still liked it.
These days I don’t drive slowly along the countryside ditches and look for asparagus patches – though that might be fun to do with the kids sometime. Instead I look for a good buy at the store. Of course, that can seem like hunting sometimes too don’t you think? I’d love to have an asparagus patch in our back yard, but that hasn’t happened yet. So I go with fresh from the store when I can get it. My preparation methods are a bit different from my mom’s, however. One of my favorites is roasting this wonderful vegetable. My family, most of them anyway, have fallen in love with roasted asparagus too – and it’s so simple and easy to prepare.
Nutritionally, asparagus is a gem. It’s very good source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folic acid and fiber; and it’s low in calories, sodium, fat, and cholesterol. It also has a good share of anti-oxidants. So it’s naturally a healthy addition to any meal. Try it raw, steamed, grilled, or roasted. However you prepare it it’s sure to please the taste buds.
The recipe below isn’t so much a recipe as it is a method. I try to use thicker stalks of asparagus when roasting, as I found the thinner ones tend to dry out more easily. The only seasonings I add are olive oil, garlic powder, sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, and a little shredded parmesan cheese. The amounts you use are really up to your own preference, so please be aware that the amounts I give are just estimates. But do try it. it’s a delicious way to prepare this super healthy vegetable. Enjoy!
Fresh asparagus, cleaned, with woody ends removed
Extra-virgin olive oil (1-2 Tbsp.)
Garlic powder (1/4-1/2 tsp.)
Sea salt (1/2 tsp)
Fresh cracked pepper
Shredded parmesan cheese (1 Tbsp.)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Prepare asparagus by rinsing well with cool water and snapping or cutting off the woody ends. My mom always snapped them so that’s how I do it. I don’t think it really matters. Drain stalks on a paper towel.
Line a baking sheet with foil and drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom of the pan. Place asparagus on the pan and spread out the pieces so they are in one level – not layered on top of each other. Drizzle a little more olive oil on top.
Roast at 400°F for 15 minutes (less time if using thinner stalks). Remove pan from oven and sprinkle asparagus with just a little shredded parmesan cheese. Return to oven and check asparagus after roasting 5 minutes more. Add 1 to 2 minutes more at a time till desired tenderness is achieved. Remove from oven and enjoy!