The joys of roasted asparagus. October 20, 2011Posted by ourfriendben in recipes, wit and wisdom.
Tags: asparagus, green asparagus, roasted asparagus, white asparagus, white asparagus in cream sauce on toast
Silence Dogood here. Our friend Ben and I love roasted vegetables—sweet onion wedges, mushroom caps, bell pepper quarters, sliced sweet potatoes, quartered yellow or red-skinned new potatoes, halved Brussels sprouts, summer squash slices, garlic cloves (to add to other dishes). Drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt or Trocamare and fresh-ground black pepper, these veggies are beyond delicious.
But one vegetable you might not have tried roasting is asparagus. You steam or boil it, add butter and lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy, right? Wrong. We love green asparagus prepared this way, I have to admit. But I never had green asparagus growing up. My beloved Mama’s idea of asparagus, served only on festive occasions, was white asparagus in cream sauce on toast. It was such a luscious treat!
You can imagine my surprise when I first came up North and discovered that there was no white asparagus, nobody’d even heard of it, much less white asparagus in cream sauce on toast. They all ate green asparagus. Green asparagus?! Oh, my.
Fortunately, I quickly came to love green asparagus, too. And even more fortunately, now I can buy both green and white (blanched) asparagus at my local grocery. Thank you, grocery gods!
But the best was yet to come, as I was reminded last night when making supper. I put two plump baking potatoes (punctured with a fork numerous times to reduce steam and not explode) in the oven and turned it to 350 degrees F. Then I lined a tray with aluminum foil and topped it with mushroom caps and both green and white asparagus, trimmed and cut in thirds, then piled in rows across the tray. I drizzled my favorite sage and wild mushroom-infused olive oil on the green asparagus and mushroom caps, then sprinkled on Trocamare (hot seasoned salt) and fresh-ground black pepper. For the more delicately-flavored white asparagus, I simply added a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and sprinklings of RealSalt and Hungarian paprika. Then I put the tray in the oven with the potatoes.
I kept a close eye on the roasting veggies while I made a luscious salad and pecan pie (OFB’s favorite), and as soon as they were cooked and bubbling, I yanked the tray out of the oven and set it on top. After all, the potatoes would need longer to bake up soft and fluffy. I figured I could run the veggies back in the oven for five minutes before serving up supper to make sure they were hot.
I confess, I couldn’t quite resist those roasted veggies when they’d cooled down enough to pick up without burning my fingers. Oh, yum!!! The mushrooms and green and white asparagus were so delicious, so perfect, it was all I could do not to eat them all then and there. (Poor Ben!) Fortunately, I also love perfectly baked potatoes and a great, crunchy salad, so I was able to keep most of them untouched.
If you’ve never tasted roasted asparagus, please give it a try! Green or white or green and white, I guarantee that it will be the best asparagus you’ve ever eaten, and so healthy, too! (Sorry, Mama, but white asparagus in cream sauce on toast doesn’t exactly cut it in the health competition.)
‘Til next time,