Paul enjoys easy recipes that deliver gourmet-quality food. He's also a barbecue enthusiast.
There is just about nothing easier to cook than roasted asparagus with a little olive oil and salt. Here are the steps to my super simple gourmet asparagus recipe.
- Fresh asparagus spears with the bottoms removed
- Truffle salt or seasoned salt
- Premium olive oil
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- Start with fresh asparagus. It's always a good idea to wash fresh vegetables, so run the asparagus under cool water to clean it. It's not uncommon for bits of grit to get on asparagus, so take your time cleaning it.
- Cut about one to two inches from the bottom of the asparagus spears. The bottoms are tough and chewy and don't taste good. Then throw the bottoms out. You may find trimmed asparagus in the grocery store. It's a bit more expensive, but it's a fine way to go, although I usually select an untrimmed bunch.
- To prepare the asparagus to roast, set your oven to 375°F and preheat it. Most ovens take a few minutes to heat up, and timing with asparagus is critical when you're serving with a large meal. I love to eat asparagus with BBQ beef ribs or BBQ pork. When I pull the meat off the grill, I let the meat rest while the asparagus cooks. As soon as the asparagus is done, it's time to eat. It's really important to serve the asparagus when it comes out of the oven.
- Place the asparagus spears on a baking sheet, preferably one with a lip. Asparagus spears will roll around if you don't hold the baking sheet flat; that's why the lip is really handy to keep the asparagus on the sheet.
- Seasoning asparagus is very easy. Take some olive oil and drizzle over the top. The olive oil is really just for taste and prevents the asparagus from burning a bit, although asparagus has quite a bit of moisture in it. Next, lightly sprinkle with truffle salt. Truffle salt is what is going to give it the gourmet flavor.
- Cooking asparagus to the right doneness level is the most challenging part. Cook it too little, and it's too hard; cook it too much, and it's a stringy, dried-out mess. Perfectly cooked asparagus should be cooked through, but it should still be a little firm. I typically cook it for 15 minutes in a well-heated oven in the middle rack. Then I take a bite of one to see if it needs more cooking. If you taste it, be careful since it will most likely be very hot.
Now that the asparagus is done cooking, it's time to eat. I always say, the vegetables should be the last thing ready when preparing a dinner. It's critical that they are served hot.