Veggie Basics: Welcome Spring with Asparagus!

While my own personal asparagus patch has thus far only sent up a single scout, my local grocery is brimming with beautiful asparagus. Carni-Mom whipped some up for us at Easter dinner and I confess it’s spurred a bit of an asparagus binge on my part. The BEST discovery we’ve made with asparagus this year is that if we prepare it the right way, Ms. Picky Pants (who eats vegetables but detests many of them) actually loved it. Asparagus… who knew?

As with so many of our produce friends, the simplest of preparations seems to bring out the best in asparagus. My mother introduced me to oven cooked asparagus, and I doubt if I’ll ever go back to the steamed variety of the past. After 15-20 minutes in the oven, while you’re preparing the rest of the meal, you will be able to enjoy one of the finest pleasures of early spring, and maybe your picky pants will like it too.

Oven Cooked AsparagusIMG_0318

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400. Wash the asparagus and cut off the woody ends. If your stalks are particularly thick, you may wish to peel them. Lay the asparagus out on a baking dish (I confess to having used foil on mine), keeping it in a single layer. Use a brush to coat the asparagus lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and a bit of pepper. Cover the pan with foil. Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pan, remove the foil and check the asparagus. Unless it’s already cooked (unlikely, but if they’re really small stems I suppose possible), leave the foil off and return to the oven for 5 more minutes. Check again and return to oven for no more than 5 additional minutes. The asparagus should be tender, but not limp or mushy. Absolutely delish and a perfect sign that this dreadful winter is well and truly gone.

IMG_0313 IMG_0310 IMG_0314

* A word for the uninitiated asparagus crowd. If you have more than a stalk or two, you will likely find that your urine takes on a peculiar odor for a little while. It should pass within a day, and while a little startling until you remember why, it is nothing to be concerned about.

 

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18 responses

  1. In fact, I think the distinctive, strong urine smell could be a selling point to hesitant children…. I mean, that’s kind of cool!

  2. One of my favourite vegetables, by far – can’t wait for it to appear at our farmers’ markets and organic stores! I love it best roasted like this with a squeeze of fresh lemon – yummy!

  3. Thank you for the tips. I roast asparagus all the time & it never turns out right. I am going to try covering it with foil for the first 10 min, as you do, and only 20 min total. I usually do 30 min but sounds like I am overcooking mine. They get limp & too crispy at the same time.

  4. I grew up only knowing asparagus as an over boiled veggie as well. Now today sautéed or baked with a little salt & olive oil I found that I absolutely love it!! Hope next year you get more than one little sprout!!

    • Thanks Melissa – I’m sure there will be more. It seems to have a mind of its own where timing is concerned. I suffered from many an overly boiled veggie as a child. It’s so fun to discover how many of them I actually enjoy.

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