Quick Butter Roasted Asparagus
Oven-roasting is an easy way to prepare asparagus that really brings out its sweetness and rich flavor. Simple seasonings like butter, balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese are easy additions that subtly enhance its natural flavor.
- 1-1/2 to 2 lbs fresh asparagus
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Trim off any woody ends from the asparagus and unless your spears are very slender, peel a bit of the outer skin off toward the bottom of the stalk. This helps to ensure tenderness and the spears will cook more evenly. Also, don't use the "snapping" method to trim the ends - you'll waste too much of the spear.
Put the butter in the center of the prepared baking sheet and place it in the oven until melted. Remove and arrange the asparagus spears in a single layer. Using tongs, toss the asparagus to coat completely with the melted butter, then season lightly with salt and pepper.
Roast until the spears are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes, then squeeze lemon juice over the top. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
For a different flavor, replace the butter with olive oil and drizzle on a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and roast as directed above. When the asparagus is done, grate some fresh parmesan cheese over the top in place of the lemon juice.
Asparagus contains moderate amounts of vitamins C, A and E, potassium, small amounts of iron and quite a bit of fiber. Springtime is the best time to find an abundance of fresh asparagus at your local supermarket. Like garlic and onions, asparagus is an edible member of the lily family, prized for its great flavor and nutritional value.