Can I get an amen for daylight saving time? It’s like the universe is operating more on my wavelength now, even if it is just a mind game. The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, the days are growing longer and it’s still daylight when I drive to my evening yoga class. I love this time of year.
Last weekend, I went out to eat, which hasn’t been much happening lately. I ordered a giant salad, but I sat across from a more standard plate of meat, potatoes and vegetables. As I admired the perfectly roasted carrots, I realized that I don’t have enough side dishes on the blog. Where is my basic roasted carrots side dish?!
I know why I don’t have enough on the blog already—most of my recipes are well-balanced enough to eat on their own, which is what I usually do. I’m just cooking for one most of the time. Side dish recipes are good to have, though. I’m going to remedy this situation as soon as possible, starting with simple roasted asparagus. It’s a perfect side for spring meals, whether for brunch or dinner.
Roasted asparagus is my favorite. The tips get a little crispy in the oven, which I love, and the flavor is more concentrated than it would be if you steamed or sautéed it. I decked mine out with lemon, mint, red pepper flakes and the lightest shaving of Parmesan, but you can keep it as simple as you’d like. I included the basic recipe below, plus ideas for changing up the seasonings!
- 1 large bunch (about 1 pound) fresh asparagus
- 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Zest and juice of ½ medium lemon, preferably organic
- Lemon wedges, from the remaining ½ lemon
- Sprinkle of finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Small handful fresh mint, finely chopped
- Light sprinkle of red pepper flakes
- Pat or two of butter
- Garlic butter
- Light drizzle of balsamic reduction or regular balsamic vinegar
- Toasted sliced almonds
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus (if you sharply bend the asparagus near the base, it will snap in the right place). Discard the ends.
- Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Place the asparagus on the sheet and drizzle with 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil, just enough to lightly coat the asparagus. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the asparagus, and toss until the spears are lightly coated in oil. Arrange the spears in a single layer on the pan.
- Bake until the asparagus is tender and roasted to your desired level of doneness (I may have left mine in a little longer than necessary, but I like the crispy tips). Very thin asparagus, like the kind shown here, will take as little as 10 to 12 minutes, whereas thicker asparagus will need 15 to 20 minutes.
- Transfer the roasted asparagus to a serving platter and season however you'd like. You could keep it simple with a squeeze of lemon juice, or just Parmesan, or add a pat of butter or drizzle of balsamic vinegar. For my variation here, I grated the zest of about half a lemon over the asparagus using a Microplane, then squeezed the juice of half of a lemon over it, and garnished with a few lemon wedges, for good measure. Then I grated some Parmesan over the dish, followed by a light sprinkle of chopped mint and a very light sprinkle of red pepper flakes.