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Asparagus is one of the veggies I reach for most. It's always available, easy to prep and doesn't take long at all to cook. My only experience with asparagus as child was the one time my dad served us canned asparagus. I remember it being one of only a handful of days in my entire life that I sat there disgusted, forcefully willing myself to finish what was on my plate. Those are traumatizing experiences that make people never want to try food again! I completely understand why asparagus freaks people out because I too, was terrified of touching the stuff again until I was an adult.
Turns out there is nothing complicated about cooking asparagus, and fresh asparagus is now a welcome addition to my plates. My favorite way to cook asparagus is to roast it, second only to pulling out my cast iron grill pan. All you need to roast asparagus is a heavy baking sheet, some cooking oil, salt and pepper. Whatever you do beyond that is up to your imagination (I'm partial to garlic, herbs and lemon most days!)
Here's how I've dressed up asparagus for a couple fancy dinners. This holiday season, I was a big fan of Calivirgin's Rosemary Olive Oil and The Truffliest Truffle Salt, both from Hatchery's marketplace. For acid and touch of sweetness, I turned to a balsamic glaze, which is thicker and coats food a little better than straight balsamic vinegar. All three worked together beautifully, especially as a finishing touch on roasted veggies. Regardless of the flavor profile you decide to go with just keep in mind that they are indeed finishing ingredients in this recipe and used just before serving. Asparagus is best roasted quickly at a high temp that would degrade the quality and full flavor of the ingredients, so do your drizzling and sprinkling last!
Rosemary Balsamic Asparagus
2 lbs fresh asparagus
1 tbsp neutral cooking oil, such as canola or grape seed oil
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp rosemary infused extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp balsamic glaze
1/2 tsp black truffle sea salt
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Special Equipment: Heavy sheet pan, parchment paper or silicone pan liner
Preheat oven to 450° F. Trim off a couple inches of the thick asparagus ends and rinse the stalks in cool water. Pat dry and arrange asparagus on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with cooking oil (you mostly just need to get the tips to keep them from drying out too much.) Season with Kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder; roll around to coat evenly.
Roast the asparagus on the top rack of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until crisp tender and slightly charred. After removing from the oven, drizzle with rosemary olive oil and balsamic glaze. Sprinkle with truffle salt. Serve immediately. Leftover asparagus is great the next day, served cold in salads or chop up and add to a frittata!