Asparagus is just beginning its prime. You'll find them more prominently displayed at your local markets now, and usually pretty affordable as well. I love asparagus -- super easy to prepare, low in calories and yields itself to a variety of dishes, even satisfyingly by itself. I prepare asparagus in a variety of ways, but this is one of my all time favorites. Simply seasoned with quality sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, I roast the asparagus for that perfect al dente texture. Right out of the oven I hit them with a generous fresh grating of imported parmesan cheese, and a good squeeze of lemon juice. The warmth of the asparagus will just begin to melt the cheese right on top.
This is a perfect side dish this spring and summer to go along with most anything, from roasted chicken to a perfect summer BBQ, steamed fish to grilled pork loin. But honestly, they won't even make it that far. A quick taste after the parm and lemon and I guarantee you'll eat them before they even make it to the table! Enjoy!
Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan
1 bunch asparagus
extra virgin olive oil
course sea salt (recommend: Celtic sea salt or Fleur de Sel)
coarsely ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut in half
wedge good quality, imported Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Take the asparagus and wash them, then cut off the touch ends of the stems. Discard. Toss the asparagus in a little olive oil (enough to coat) and layer out on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then roast in oven until bright green and just beginning to caramelize on the outer edges, about 10-15 minutes (cooking time will depend on your oven's strength; if yours is more powerful you may need to reduce temperature down to 375). Shake the pan a couple of times during roasting to move the asparagus around.
Remove from oven and immediately transfer to a plate or serving platter. Squeeze lemon directly on top of the asparagus, then grate a generous portion of the cheese right on top. You want a really good dusting of the cheese, so don't be shy! Serve immediately.