Sunday, March 25, 2012

Oven Roasted Asparagus with Garlic

The first day of spring has finally made it's appearance which means the time for summer food will be here before you know it! The cost of summer vegetables has already started to go down at the grocery stores and the farmer's markets will soon be open. I can't wait to go to our local market down the street because the vegetables are huge in comparison to the stores and their prices can't be beat. They last longer than the store-bought, too, because you can't get anything more fresh than home-grown down the street!

I try to keep tons of veggies in our house at all times, but it's so much easier in warm weather. The amount of zucchini, eggplants and red peppers is insane over here sometimes. Asparagus never seemed to be big on the must-have list but I'll get some every once in awhile just to add a little variety. I never considered it to be one of those side dishes that was spectacular, but that all changed recently...

I grew up on steamed asparagus and it was good, but (forgive me, mom) it was always lacking in the flavor department. Steaming it also made it taste a little watered down and soggy. But since that was how I always had it, I would make it that way, too. With this last asparagus purchase though, I tried something new: roasting in the oven. My whole outlook on asparagus has changed because of  this cooking method. It came out tender and crisp and had a depth of flavor that went through each spear in a perfect way. There was a subtle sweetness from the roasting that brought out the vegetable's natural sugars and the garlic brought it to a whole new level. It's a great, healthy addition to any meat, poultry or fish and it is definitely worth trying.

Oven Roasted Asparagus with Garlic

1 bunch asparagus
1 TB olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 tsp salt and pepper (or to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Rinse and trim asparagus by snapping off the bottom stems.
3. Pat dry.
4. Mix oil and garlic together and toss with asparagus in a large bowl.
5. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with non-stick spray and place asparagus in a single layer.
6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
7. Roast in oven for 10-12 minutes or until asparagus is tender and starting to brown slightly. Flip pan around halfway through cooking.

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