So many cuisines use asparagus thanks to its versatility and flavor. Its strength lies in its simplicity. Because it shines so brightly on its own, it’s a great side dish that’s quick and easy to prepare. Great as part of a veggie smorgasbord, it also lightens meat courses with its distinctive sweetness.
Not only is asparagus tasty, but it’s also beneficial for our health. As a bonus, it’s one of the fastest cooking vegetables. Most preparations take less than 10 minutes from stove to table. This simple recipe will be a favorite at all types of occasions because it can accompany all kinds of other sides, like roasted beets, roasted purple potatoes, or even with grilled Moroccan flank steak.
Asparagus is a lovely vegetable, but it is easily overcooked. This is particularly true of the thinnest, most tender and delicate spears, which are also often the most delicious. A short time under the broiler adds depth of flavor and texture, without reducing the spears to the dull green, soggy mush of your asparagus nightmares.
There are no specific quantities given in this recipe because they’re not really needed. Focus on the asparagus and everything will turn out fine. You can easily substitute Parmigiano, ricotta salata, or even aged gouda for the pecorino, or just skip the cheese entirely and focus on the asparagus.
- 2 dozen spears fresh thin young asparagus, trimmed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, shaved
Gather the ingredients.
Set your broiler to high.
Place the trimmed asparagus on a foil-lined sheet pan and drizzle with a little olive oil, just enough to very thinly coat the spears.
Put the asparagus under the broiler, checking and turning periodically, until the skin slightly wrinkles and the heads sizzle, seven to ten minutes. Remove from oven.
Plate asparagus. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Scatter shaved pecorino over the top and serve.
Glass Bakeware Warning
Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.
To achieve the very best flavor and texture, here are a few suggestions about what to aim for:
- Get the freshest asparagus possible.
- The spears should be straight and perky. No limp spears allowed.
- Inspect the cut ends and reject any that are dry or split.
- Thin asparagus tends to be sweeter and more tender, while thicker stalks are more meaty and savory.
- Don’t store asparagus for long. Use within one or two days of purchase. If you need to store it for a little longer, trim the ends and stand the spears in shallow water in the refrigerator, loosely covered with a plastic bag. Refresh the water every day. Dry the spears with paper towels before roasting, and trim the ends.