With spring approaching quickly, everyone is looking for new ways to brighten their favorite spring-time vegetables. This take on roasted asparagus will have no one waiting at their dinner tables until they finish all their vegetables because they will be the first thing gone! With waves of roasted garlic, bursts of fresh lemon, and the salty-funk of Pecorino-Romano cheese, asparagus will become your new favorite vegetable.
It's refreshing, light, vibrant and oh-so flavorful!
Asparagus is another one of those vegetables that we have come to expect to have available year round. While its quality does not drop as drastically when purchased out-of-season and overseas as does tomatoes, there certainly is a drop-off in flavor. When purchased locally and in-season, asparagus is firm, yet tender, with a swift crunch and subtly sweet flavor. The stuff available at the store usually tends to be slightly woody and has a generic bitter flavor. To find the good stuff during the spring season, try your local farmer’s market, go directly to one of your local farms, or ask your nearest Farm-to-Fork restaurant where they get theirs.
For me, asparagus is so exciting because it is one of the first vegetables available with the warmer temperatures that spring brings. The asparagus growing season (at least here in Northern Virginia), is relatively long going from late March to late May (depending on the weather). When asparagus is purchased or harvested fresh, you shouldn’t need to peel it, but if you find that your asparagus is very thick, you may want to consider gently peeling off the outer layer of skin to ensure your asparagus is nice and tender. Besides possibly peeling your asparagus, the only other step needed to prepare them for cooking is to simply snap the tough, fibrous base of each stalk off. To do this, simply apply subtle pressure to each stalk close to the base and where it naturally snaps is where you should cut it.
I like to blanch, then roast the asparagus to get the most tender and flavorful asparagus.
Blanching is the process of precooking a vegetable quickly, in boiling and salted water, so that the vegetable becomes nice and tender and, for green vegetables, the gas trapped just beneath their skins are released and they become a bright and vibrant green. This step is usually followed by the process of shocking, or quickly submerging the vegetables into ice water to immediately stop the cooking process.
Keys to successfully Blanching:
Spring is here and it's truly the best time to make these roasted asparagus.
Went to the farmers market and got lots of asparagus? Store them in your fridge similar to how you would store flowers in a vase, with just a little water in the bottom of the container to keep your asparagus firm and fresh.
Cheers and eat well!
This blanched and roasted asparagus side dish is influenced with flavors from Italy, with pecorino, garlic and lemon. It's the perfect vibrant and light side dish
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