Normally, when I cook something I don’t usually think of what is in season mainly because I probably don’t have to. My ingredients are often pretty common and aren’t too complicated. I mean, thanks to science and other natural things, you can get just about anything for the majority of the year.
So when I read April is the height of asparagus season, I finally made the connection that this must be the reason why asparagus has been on special and has been so big lately. The last time I cooked with asparagus I bought it only because it was cheaper than normal and I had to adjust the cook time because each spear was so much thicker than normal.
I have two go to asparagus recipes. This one is an easy side dish that could go with just about anything. It’s also easy enough to make a lot of and after you’ve made it once, you’ll remember the recipe so I’ve used it quite a bit for dinner parties.
1 batch of asparagus
1 box of grape, cherub, or cherry tomatoes
Grated parmesan cheese
Garlic salt (optional)
One of the things I’ve learned that I’ve been doing wrong in cooking is how to prep asparagus. Most people cut or slice the ends off of asparagus spears. Well apparently that’s incorrect. Sorry. I mean, I suppose it’s not incorrect, just not the best way to go about getting the best of the asparagus spear.
First, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Then to trim the ends of the asparagus (the not leafy end), simply loosely hold the end with one hand and the bottom half of the spear with the other and then bend. The spear will snap at the weakest point leaving the best part of the spear intact. The location of the breaking point will vary. Some spears will lose less and some will lose more, but with this method it’s quality, not quantity.
After you’ve trimmed each spear, place them on a cookie sheet with some tomatoes cut in half. Drizzle olive oil on them. I don’t measure this. You’ll need enough so that when you ‘stir’ them they will have a light coating. You can use tongs to do so or I just used two knives since my tongs were dirty. Before stirring, add a small amount of garlic salt if you have any. I haven’t had any for awhile and these have been fine without it.
Pop the tray in the oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring once about half way through. To help tell if they are done, poke a fork near the end of a thick one. The fork should go easily in. Next, put a bunch of parmesan on top of the asparagus and tomatoes. I don’t measure this either. A good blanket. Then ‘stir’ them again just a bit.
My suggestion is when they are plated or on the serving dish, do a fresh non-stirred light blanket of parmesan again. Not only will it make it look good, but also make it taste better. I don’t think you can have too much parmesan with this… or really in life.