Side dishes can become rather boring in our house and I tend to rely on my easy standbys like brown rice and green beans to compliment our main dishes. I forget how easy and lovely it is to add a little variation to our side dishes and the melancholy of those long winter days leaves my creativity drained when it comes to the dinner hour.
When I saw the beautiful shoots of asparagus on sale at our grocery store, I began to breathe a little sigh of relief as it has to mean that Spring is just around the corner. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables to create and enjoy. It is simple, low in calories, and packed with vitamins. It makes the perfect easy salty appetizer wrapped in a little prosciutto and roasting it brings out a nutty flavor with just a few simple ingredients you have already in your kitchen. Serve it as a finger-food to your children, like their favorite french fries and see if they don’t gobble it up.
Although I feel there is nothing really special about my technique for asparagus, I wanted to share with you how to roast it and enjoy it for your next weeknight meal.
On a cookie sheet, fan your asparagus out on the baking sheet. Drizzle the asparagus with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little minced garlic (bottled is fine). Give your asparagus a little rub to incorporate all those delicious seasonings into the vegetable. Pop it in the oven and bake them for twelve minutes at 425 degrees.
Pull your delicious asparagus out and try not to eat the whole platter before your family comes to the table. Notice that beautiful color and the roasted bits all over it. This stuff is a little bit of heaven.
To make it even more delicious and appealing, grate a tiny bit of fresh Parmesan Cheese all over it.
Enjoy that sometimes the simplest things are the best things in the world. Pair this with a favorite dish in your house- we love our asparagus with roasted chicken, linguine with white clam sauce, or make it a fun finger food night with panko crusted tilapia nuggets.
Simple Roasted Asparagus
1 bunch thin asparagus spears, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat an oven to 425 degrees. Place the asparagus on a cookie sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the spears, then sprinkle with garlic, salt, and pepper. Rub the flavors into your asparagus with clean hands. Arrange the asparagus onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes depending on thickness. After you pull the asparagus out of the oven, give the hot vegetable a light dusting of Parmesan cheese.
What are your favorite vegetable side dishes? What Spring foods are you looking forward to this year?