Roasted asparagus is a tried-and-true staple side dish on my dinner table. I make many variations of roasted asparagus, but this is my recipe for Foolproof Roasted Asparagus. I’ve shared this recipe with friends and family for many years and even my husband, a non-cook if there ever was one, has managed to master it using this method. I really do think it’s foolproof!
While asparagus is at its peak in the spring and early summer, good fresh asparagus can be found year round. I make it for Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and everything in between. I love how quickly I can throw it together, and how quickly it cooks. It’s the perfect side dish to toss in the oven while recently roasted meat is resting so that you have a nice fresh side dish of vegetables steaming hot and ready as you’re serving the main event.
If you’re completely unfamiliar with cooking fresh asparagus, you should know that this vegetable gets tougher and more “woody” the further down the stem you travel. If you’ve ever been served asparagus that was tough to chew, it’s because someone didn’t know how to prepare it right. So, how should it be done? Well, you have to discard everything but the tender part of the spear. Luckily, nature designed asparagus spears to tell a cook exactly which part should be tossed. When bent, the spears usually break right at the line between tender and tough.
One of the keys to this being a quick recipe is that I don’t mess around breaking each spear of asparagus separately. I test a couple of spears by breaking them and then cut the rest of the bunch to the shortest length of the spears I broke. I may end up cutting off a cumulative inch or two of edible asparagus, but this method saves so much time, I don’t care! I just take the whole bunch and chop it at once with a chef’s knife and I’m done.
This recipe has another odd quirk that may not fit into conventional cooking wisdom. I think this cooking method works best when the asparagus is a little damp when you coat it with oil. Sure, oil and water don’t mix, but for some reason, water does help coat asparagus better. I also think it produces a better roast on the spears. I’m not sure it’s scientific, but I’m convinced.