Growing up in Eastern Kentucky, we always had a big garden. Fresh vegetables were always abundant. We have enough corn stalks to play hide and seek in, a strawberry patch that anyone would be jealous of, and tomatoes that make the best fried green tomatoes you’ve ever eaten.
The one thing, however, we never grew and I actually never tried until my 20s when I was out on my own, was asparagus. Now, I’ll admit I still won’t eat asparagus if it isn’t from a fresh batch of asparagus. Canned asparagus, in my opinion, is just nasty. (If you know a secret to make canned asparagus palatable will you let me know?)
Asparagus, when made the right way, can be amazing and delicious. And roasting is the perfect answer to a first-time asparagus eater.
How to Pick Out the Perfect Asparagus
The perfect roasted asparagus starts with picking out the best asparagus you can find at the store. If you can go to a Farmer’s Market and purchase it, that’s the absolute BEST way to get it. Unfortunately, asparagus has a very limited season.
Fresh asparagus will be a vibrant green and the tips should be firm and tight (not opened). Sometimes, the tips may have a purple hue and that’s ok.
Again, tastes always vary, but I find the best asparagus is the thinner asparagus. The large chunky asparagus tends to lose it’s flavor and doesn’t seem as tender.
How to Store Your Asparagus
Put your asparagus in a glass of water and stand them up in it like flowers. Then, cover it with a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator.
How to Prep Your Asparagus
For me, the first time I used asparagus, I was a little concerned about how to prep it.
Go ahead and wash your asparagus well like you would any vegetable. You don’t have to drown it in the water – just rinse them well and give them a good shake to make sure nothing is stuck into the tips. Dry them off gently.
The woody part at the bottom is going to get chopped off. One thing you can do is slightly bend an asparagus stalk, and where it breaks is the gauge you can use to cut the rest of the bunch.
How to Roast Asparagus in the Oven
To roast the asparagus, I just line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a separate bowl, I coat my asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper. That’s it!
Put them in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. I roast them in a preheated 400-degree oven on the middle rack.
It takes about 10 minutes, but you are going to have to trust your instincts and watch your asparagus. If it’s thinner, it may take less time, and if it’s thicker it may take more time. You will know it’s done because it’ll smell fragrant and look slightly toasted.
Often, I’ll take the baking sheet out halfway and give it a good shake to roll the asparagus around for more even roasting.
When you plate the asparagus, it’s perfect the way it is, but you can dress it up if you want to. You can shave some parmesan cheese over the hot asparagus, you can squeeze a little lemon over it…. It’s up to you!
If you want to learn even more about asparagus, Cooking Light has a great guide to asparagus.
I hope this encourages you to roast asparagus and use it as one of your routine side items! It’s so easy for a weeknight meal!
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