Friday, June 14, 2013

Oven Roasted Asparagus

The weather has started to warm up here. Summer is approaching. Which means less trips to grocery stores and more trips to local farmer’s markets. You get to know where your food comes from, who grows them and how it was grown. (Organic, non-organic, no pesticides etc).

Every year when I go to the local farmer’s markets, I talk to the farmers in order to know more about the produce I would be buying from them and learn something from them. 

Last year some farmers told me that they are not certified organic growers, but they are on their way to get the certification.  Which means that they should not use any types of synthetic pesticides for three consecutive years.  When they are in the midst of the process, they can’t  label their food as “organic”, but they also can't use pesticides. Since the produce is not “certified” organic, they sell it at a little cheaper price than other “certified” organic produce. Which is good. You get produce grown with no pesticides at a cheaper price. Anyways, enough of farmer’s market lectureJ

I bought a big bunch of young and tender asparagus from my local farmer’s market last week. In the past, I have made asparagus soup, and oven roasted asparagus. Both are equally delicious. This time, I wanted to try something new. Since I had a big bunch, I thought of oven roasting some of it, and making Indian curry out of the rest. Both of them turned out good. Here is the recipe for simple oven roasted asparagus. I will post the Indian curry recipe in the next post.

10-12 Asparagus, Cut into two inch long pieces,
1 Clove of Garlic, Chopped Finley (If you like more garlicky taste, go ahead and use two big cloves)
Coarse salt to taste,
Black Pepper to taste, (I used 1/4th teaspoon),
1-2 Teaspoon Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese,
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
To prepare asparagus, wash thoroughly. Hold the tip with one hand and the base with the other. Gently bend it until it snaps. Usually it snaps in the center. Discard the woody base portion and use the snapped tip portion for the recipe. Cut the snapped tip ends into two inch long pieces.
Transfer the cut pieces into a deep bowl. Add the olive oil, crushed garlic, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese on top. Gently mix with all the ingredients such that the asparagus pieces are covered with oil and seasonings.
Line a baking tray with aluminum foil or silicone mats. Transfer the seasoned asparagus to the tray and lay them in one layer. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until just tender. It should still have a bite to it. Do not overcook it otherwise it becomes mushy.

Take out of the oven and add the lemon juice. Serve immediately.

Since I had thin spears of asparagus, I didn't have to discard half of each spears. In fact, I was able to use almost 3/4th of each spear. The base portion was too woody to even cut with a knife, so i discarded them. When buying asparagus for grilling or roasting, buy thin spears. This way, there is less waste.

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