Saturday, March 19, 2011

No More Casting Aspersions on Asparagus

My favorite vegetable of the day is: Asparagus.  And I owe this all to Ina Garten.  You know Ina Garten, right?  The Barefoot Contessa lady?

No?  Well, now you do.

Here's the sad thing about asparagus.  It's number two on the "Most Hated Vegetable List".  Okay, I don't have hard data on that previous fact, but seriously, it suffers from serious reputation damage.  And why?  My guess is that, because asparagus preparation is SO key, many people foul it up, and wind up serving something that looks like a slimy green snake.  No wonder.  If this has happened to you (as in the case of my mom), then consider this:

1. Asparagus look cool.  I mean, anyone can eat a tomato, potato, or lettuce - round vegetables are a dime a dozen.  But a spear?  With little nubby thingies on it?  Boyohboy, sign me up!

2.  Asparagus is a bang-for-your-buck vegetable.  Low calorie, low sodium, and high in fiber and a whole host of vitamins and minerals.  And it's versatile: steam it, roast it, pickle it, eat it raw, make cream of asparagus soup, ad nauseum...

There's other reasons, too...but I will leave you to your own research.

Anyway.  About a week ago I purchased two decent-looking bunches of asparagus at the store.  Today, I roasted them with this recipe I found at the Food Network website - Roasted Asparagus.   I only made the following changes: 1.) Instead of EVOO, I used a garlic-infused olive oil.  As a friend of mine so succinctly put it, you can never have enough garlic.  2.) I seasoned the oiled vegetables with sea salt and a freshly ground garlic pepper (found at local, small-town grocery store), because again, see Change #1.  3.) I sprinkled with Parmesan cheese upon removing from the oven.

I then roasted the two trimmed bunches on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Seriously, it was that easy.  My children ate them  - no complaints.  My mom (self-proclaimed asparagus-hater...because of repressed childhood memories, I think) even tried one, and did not throw up, spit it out, or complain.  Not that she would have done that anyway...but still.

Heavenly.  Thank goodness the season of abundant asparagus will soon be upon us, because I will be trying this recipe again.  And again.  And again.

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