I am completely obsessed with roasted vegetables. I somehow managed to go through 29 years of my life without roasting a single one, but after discovering them last summer, I now make them at least 3 times a week. You name it, I'll roast it, but some of my favorite vegetables to roast are tomatoes - cherry tomatoes, especially - zucchini, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli and asparagus.
Oh, asparagus, how happy I am to see you again at less than $8 a pound! I won't buy vegetables if they are out of season, so it has been quite a while since asparagus has been in my house. As long as I can get it at the farmer's market, however, it will be making regular appearances and I couldn't be happier about it. It is one of the things I look most forward to about spring. On a side note, have you ever made asparagus pizza? If not, you have to! My absolute favorite; Peter Reinhart's Pizza Napoletana crust, asparagus, fresh mozzarella and fresh parmesan. Heaven. And on this week's menu. I know, I digress... I'm just so excited about the asparagus!!!
I roast all vegetables in basically the same way - simply; nothing but olive oil and salt. Once in a while I'll add some ground coriander, but most often it is just olive oil and salt. The amazing thing about roasting is that it cooks the vegetables more slowly than on the stovetop, bringing out flavors that you never knew could exist. It also creates wonderful textures. The edges get crispy and caramelized, while the insides are soft, almost creamy with many vegetables.
If you haven't roasted vegetables before, you really must give it a try. It is an easy, effortless way to create a healthy and delicious meal. What I'm giving you below is more of a guideline than a recipe, I never measure anything when I roast... Let me know if you have questions.
1 bunch asparagus - about a pound
Preheat oven to 400. Wash asparagus and pat dry - the drying is very important, you don't want excess moisture, or it will steam and get mushy. Trim woody ends. Drizzle baking sheet with olive oil - just enough to give it a thin coat - and spread it evenly with your fingers. Lay asparagus on baking sheet, placing them in a single layer as much as possible. Drizzle with more olive oil and salt to taste. Toss with your hands until asparagus is evenly coated. Re-arrange in single layer and place in oven. Check asparagus every 10 minutes, turning it as necessary. Remove from oven when it is tender and ends are crispy and caramelized - about 25 minutes. This works for any vegetable, though if you use a variety with different cooking times you'll want to stagger their additions to the baking sheet. If you use a large amount of vegetables, opt for more of a roasting pan or baking dish with high sides. As a variation, add a handful of nuts after the asparagus has been in the oven for about 10 minutes, the crunchy toasted nuts add a fantastic dimension to the dish.
Also, I'm having a fabulous Le Creuset giveaway right now!!! Enter here.