I blinked and almost missed it: asparagus season! Asparagus is a spring vegetable, which is something you may only realize if you frequent local farmer’s markets – in grocery stores, it is pretty much always in season. In honor of this unique vegetable, let’s fire up the oven!
Preheat the oven to 400 or 425 – anywhere in there works! To prepare the asparagus, you have to trim off the stalky ends. Take one piece and pinch the flat end between your thumb and fingers. Using your other hand, pinch the stalk about three inches away, and then bend the stalk until it snaps. Discard the small broken ends (or boil to make stock – which we will discuss another day!). By the way, if you have not washed the asparagus yet, now is a good time. I sometimes wait until I have snapped off the ends to do so – seems like a waste to wash something I will not be using.
If your asparagus are particularly thick, use a vegetable peeler to peel off a little of the bottom of the stalk. I would not recommend this for asparagus that is super-thin – just not necessary at all!
Lay the asparagus in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 – 2 T extra virgin olive oil – you do not need much, because the next step is to roll the asparagus in the oil to coat it a bit.
Roast in the top third of the oven for 10-15 minutes. At 8 minutes, shake the baking sheet to turn the asparagus; keep an eye on them after that. They are done when they turn a bright, deep green. They are best a bit crisp, but don’t hesitate to try one to see if they are done to your liking!