April 5, 2022

Roasted Asparagus with Pecorino, Garlic Confit and Lemon

Roasted Asparagus with Pecorino, Garlic Confit and Lemon

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!

Getting the Best Asparagus

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 Vegetables

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:

  1. Ensure there is enough water in the pot and it remains boiling throughout the cooking process: You want to cook the asparagus as quickly as possible when blanching. To do this, you need to make sure the water temperature does not drop when you add the vegetable to the pot. I would recommend boiling a gallon of water on your highest heat setting to be able to maintain a steady boil throughout.
  2. Salt the water so that it tastes like the ocean: This may seem like a little bit of overkill when it comes to salt but I assure you, many Three-Michelin Starred Chefs use this exact technique (some even use ocean water!) including Thomas Keller, who made the term Big Pot Blanching famous in his cookbook The French Laundry Cookbook. You will want about 1- 1 ½ cups of salt per 1 gallon of water.

Ingredients for Roasted Asparagus with Pecorino, Garlic Confit and Lemon

  • Garlic Confit: I prefer garlic confit to fresh garlic here because of the complex sweetness and roasted garlic flavor it provides. If you don’t want to use garlic confit, just make sure you are truly using fresh garlic (not that chopped stuff in a jar!). Making garlic confit takes about 10-15 minutes to make but it will last for months in your fridge. 
  • Lemon: The lemon brings some zing to the asparagus and helps brighten the dish as a whole
  • Pecorino-Romano Cheese: The Pecorino adds a nice salty/creamy funk to the asparagus and elevates the dish/separates it from your everyday side of asparagus.
  • Salt: While I recommend still using regular kosher salt for seasoning the water before blanching, this would be a nice recipe to finish with a few sprinkles of a nice finishing salt such as Himalayan pink salt or Fleur de Sel.

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!

Roasted Asparagus with Pecorino, Garlic Confit and Lemon

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















  • 1 pound of asparagus (average thickness)
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic confit
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic confit oil
  • 1 cup of salt (for the Boiling water) (1 gallon)
  • ¼ cup of freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
  • The zest of 1 lemon
  • The juice of ½ a lemon


  1. If you haven't already, make your garlic confit.
  2. Fill a pot with a gallon of water and bring it to a boil. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  3. While the water is coming to a boil, prep the asparagus by either cutting or snapping the tough bottom end of each stalk of asparagus.
  4. Once all the asparagus has been cut and the water is at a rapid boil, add the one cup of salt to the water.
  5. Allow the water to come back to a boil and carefully add the asparagus into the water and cook for about 1½ minutes or until they become a bright green and turn a vibrant green color. It is better to undercook the asparagus than overcook the asparagus here so if you are in doubt, cook it for less time.
  6. After 1 ½ minutes, remove the asparagus from the boiling water, shake off the excess water and transfer to a sheet pan. Toss the asparagus with the garlic confit and garlic confit oil and roast in your oven at 400 F for about 5-6 minutes or until they just start to color.
  7. When the asparagus are roasted slightly, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a serving dish and garnish them with the zest of 1 lemon, the juice of ½ a lemon, and about ¼ cup of freshly grated Pecorino-Romano Cheese. Serve warm.


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