Our Best Asparagus Recipes
Sure you can get it year round at the grocery store, but now is the time to seek out what's grown near you
The Bittman Project has called asparagus season “a big event” and it’s just about upon us. The difference between what you get at the grocery store in February versus in-season local stuff is remarkable. Fresh asparagus can be exciting, with its slightly sweet grassiness and a hint of bitterness. It’s truly a harbinger of spring.
It’s a tad early for asparagus season in the Northeast but we know you’re seeing it in Virginia and California. So today, we’re celebrating all things asparagus with recipes for roasted asparagus with crunchy parmesan topping; asparagus and sesame salad; linguine with asparagus, leeks, and new season garlic; chicken roulade with goat cheese and asparagus, and asparagus 12 ways — variations on steamed, roasted, stir-fried, and grilled.
We’d love to hear your favorite ways to enjoy asparagus — let us know in the comments.
One more thing — we’ve got a Bittman Project conversation this Thursday for members from 1 to 3 p.m. EDT. We’re looking forward to sharing the dishes we’re excited to cook for Passover/Easter/Spring celebrations. We’ll be dropping recipes in the chat.
Roasted Asparagus with Crunchy Parmesan Topping
Time: 25 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
1 thick slice good bread
1 small chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano, about 1 ounce
1 1/2 pounds thin asparagus, more or less
3 tablespoons butter, extra virgin olive oil, or a combination
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat oven to 500°F; while it heats, put bread in, and check frequently until it is lightly toasted and dry. Coarsely grind or grate bread and cheese together (a small food processor is best), and keep crumbs larger than commercial bread crumbs.
2. Rinse asparagus, and break off woody bottoms. Lay stalks in a baking dish that will hold them in two or three layers. Toss with bits of butter or the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place in oven.
3. Roast 5 minutes, then shake dish to redistribute butter or oil. Roast 5 minutes more, then test for doneness by piercing a spear with point of a sharp knife; it should slide in but meet a little resistance. (Up to this point, the recipe can be made as much as two hours before serving; just leave asparagus at room temperature).
4. Turn on broiler and place rack as close as possible to heating element. Top asparagus with cheese-crumb mixture and run under broiler to brown, a minute or two. Serve hot or at room temperature.
This recipe is easily varied. For instance, forget the topping and toss the spears with 1 tablespoon of minced garlic when you add the oil, then roast. Skip the broiler step.
For roast asparagus with soy and sesame, use 1 tablespoon peanut oil instead of olive oil or butter. Halfway through roasting, add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce to the asparagus, toss gently, and finish roasting. When the spears are cooked, top with about 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds and run under the broiler until they pop, about 1 minute. Finish with a teaspoon or two of soy sauce.
— Recipe from “The Minimalist” in The New York Times