Monday, June 06, 2011

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan

I'm super-duper excited to introduce you to a very special guest today. And no, it's not Maddie with the summer rolls recipe, not yet--though I am working on her, I promise.

It's this pan:
I am a good pan!
This rimmed baking pan, which is part of the USA Pan series. In sum: it is a beast. I simply love it, and I love the cookies sheet and also the muffin tin too. The USA Pan folks sent me all of this amazing, non-teflon non-stick bakewear (typo--but I left it because it made me picture myself wearing one) and although I have prided myself on using whatever rusty old pans in my snobby anti-snob way (What-ever!), I am now fully converted to the amazingness that is the USA Pan. It weighs, like, a million pounds (so don't drop it on your toe). Plus, nothing sticks to it. Ever. And everything browns perfectly--cookies, potatoes, muffins, veggies--becoming neither flabby nor burnt. And did I give you the link already? Of course I did.

Okay. Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan. In short: yum. I mean, it's sort of ridiculous to do anything to asparagus, because it's so crazy good already, but this is the kind of recipe I pull out when we're pretty far into the season, and the kids are kind of hitting their limit of steamed asparagus with dip, which is what I make for a solid month before moving along. And they're just crazy good: burnished golden and just a little unctuously cheesy, just a little bracingly lemony, simultaneously rich and refreshing, tender and still crisp. Perfect. The kids and I ate them all in about 45 seconds ("Daddy doesn't love them as much as we do," is how we seemed to justify the omission of saving any for Michael), and Birdy declared, "If I were an octopus with opposable thumbs, I'd give it 8 thumbs up." Does it get any better than that? I mean, assuming there are no centipedes in the house.

Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan and Lemon
Serves 1-4
Active time: 5 minutes; total time: 17 minutes

If there were someone you knew who didn't like asparagus, this might be one of those conversion experiences. I mean, if you don't like something that's roasted with cheese on it, you it just might be a lost cause.

1 bunch of asparagus (I like the nice thick ones)
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup freshly grated parmesan
Juice of ¼ of a lemon

Heat the oven to 450.

Wash the asparagus, trim or snap off the bottoms, then dry them briefly on a dish towel.

Toss them with the olive oil and salt and roast them until they are starting to color and seem mostly tender when pierced with a knife--around 10 minutes (thinner ones may take less time, so you might want to check them at 5).

Sprinkle the cheese over the asparagus, toss again, then roast another 2 minutes until the cheese has turned into a kind of molten golden coating.

Squeeze the lemon over it, taste for salt and lemon, and serve.

Have you noticed how phallic the spring is? Everything shoving all tumescently out of the ground, the trees all smelling vaguely jizz-like? I see why it's the season of lovin'.
I dry the asparagus briefly so they won't repel the oil.
Oiled and ready to roast. I like the pan so much that this photo fills me with affection.
Roasted and sprinkled with cheese. If that doesn't look to you like it's going to be good, then it probably won't be. Me? I am personally salivating. There are probably no other ways to salivate.
Stock footage of Ben juicing lemons.
Ta da! 
I'm surprised any of these are in focus. We were a blur of devouring. 
And then we had smoothies after, for the main course. What-ever.


  1. I love the stock footage of Ben. Asparagus is a beloved veggie at our house, but mostly because of the fact that my kids get a kick out of the fact that it makes their pee smell weird.

  2. Ha! Stock footage of Ben! I was going to be like "Hey, I've seen that picture before..." But the non-stock footage of Ben matches, which is awesome.

    I love asparagus. YUM.

  3. plazamom2:30 PM

    So happy to see that you've got a sponsor! I will definitely head over to their website and check out their stuff.

    My word verification is cativer which for some reason makes me think of both "cantilever" and "cat" and has me picturing some precarious situation involving our calico.

  4. ımmm ımmm ı love fresh asparagus well done.

  5. I made this for a crowd just this weekend, only I use shallots and lemon pepper instead of parmesan. Time to change it up a little. (Also time to dig the leftover asparagus out of the fridge for lunch . . . yum!)

    I love that you have a sponsor, and I love that you have recommendation for a pan, because all of mine have finally given up! Off to order, as I gorge on cold asparagus :) Yay!

  6. I love asparagus, and this is my favourite way to eat them, except for the lemon, which I've never tried. But maybe I will try! Yum.

  7. So .. I clicked over and it brought me to the USA Pans landing page. Is it the jelly roll/sheet pan that we're looking at? It looks like it has a ripply bottom in your picture. Can't see it in the Love to cook pic...

  8. Oh, thanks for saying, since I didn't say! It's the jelly roll pan, I think. Yes. That. Sorry!


  9. Teafortwo5:06 PM

    Ooh, I was thinking of the green beans we bought this morning. This sounds like the sauce would work well for those as well. Tomorrow, the first cucumber of the season should be ready to pick! It's too exciting! Looking forward to looking the Love to Cook site.

  10. I have asparagus in the fridge I can't wait to try this!

  11. We make a nearly identical dish on the stove with olive oil, lemon and coarse salt. Delish! Unfortunately, asparagus season is over for us now. :(

  12. Anonymous11:43 PM

    Love the recipes and have checked out the sponsors site!
    However, I am a little mystified...We just made Ben's tuna recipe and it was good, and healthy tasting, but I'm just surprised that after not eating tuna for so long, that the first tuna you had wouldn't have been a toasty, cheesy, tuna melt!! A

  13. I love how funny you can make posts based around recipes. I always end up laughing. Spring IS phallic! And no, there probably is no other way to salivate. I doubt one can salivate vicariously.

  14. I have never had white asparagus before but it is big here (oops - no spring joke intended) so thanks for the recipe.

  15. Oh dear lord, I cannot believe you used the word "jizz" in a post about a recipe. Now I need to un-hear that word! ;)

  16. Anonymous9:31 AM

    Were you drunk when you wrote this? Not criticising, just wondering.

  17. Darlingtiffy4:01 PM

    Did someone actually ask you if you were drunk while writing this?? I guess that's a no-no? I was g
    onna say you got a WWI, Writing While Intoxicated, but that's World War 1 and therefore not funny...Damn. :D

    I personally love that you put it all out there so to speak. You cuss and point out the phallic-ness of things. It wouldn't be the same without the insane thoughts and weird phrases you sometimes use. In short, it's why I love you and your writing. (in that not creepy way I swear. lol)

    You make the tedium of cooking, living, and growing a family entertaining (and sometimes naughty.) Keep it up...please. Mondays and Fridays would be sadder without you in them. :D

  18. Allison6:06 PM

    I think that "I am a good pan!" is the cutest photo caption I've ever seen!

  19. I have to say that as a long time (read everything, sometimes twice) fan, I was wondering the same thing. These last few posts have sounded a little frantic, not sure I would say drunk though. I don't know, my life feels pretty frantic these days, and all around stronger winds are blowing.

  20. Blogging under intoxication? BUI. You guys crack me up. Maybe a caffeine buzz or two, but NEVER DRUNK (at least not while writing).

    Who is that out there, mystified about the not-tuna-melt? I feel it must be someone I know. . .


    p.s. I love hearing about everyone's word verification!

  21. Alysa5:05 PM

    We ARE nice in Utah! You should really come visit us sometime. We could go out for a beer...I mean a ROOT beer! (Snicker, snicker.) I am totally getting that pan.

  22. Nikki3:08 PM

    Oh wow Catherine! I already know I love you...have for many years, but you solidified it when you said that the trees smell "jizz-like". Every Spring I complain about the bradford pear trees and their disgusting odor. Even my 3 year old who inherited my very sensitive nose told me his playground at pre-school smelled like "fish-tuna". I sort of ignored him in that "uh huh" sort of way moms can, but then I put it together one day and realized he too was offended by the trees. Ah, Spring. xoxo