I could never get behind steamed vegetables. They’re so boring! People wonder why they can’t get their kids to eat vegetables. Maybe you’d have a chance if you didn’t make it taste like grunt! (This dish does not taste like grunt.)
Depending on how hot you want your kitchen to get, you can roast or broil these. I’ve included both directions below.
1 pound (453 g) asparagus
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed (about 4– 6 tablespoons)
Kosher salt, to taste (about 1 tablespoon)
1⁄4 cup (30 g) pistachios
1⁄4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Zest of 1⁄2 lemon
Keep the asparagus spears in the bundle they came in. Grab one of them by the thick, woody end (that’s what she said) and break it off. Cut the rest at this point so they’re all the same length. The point of this exercise is to remove the woody parts at the bottom, and an easy way to find out where the asparagus gets woody is to see where it snaps.
Line a baking pan with foil. It makes cleanup so much easier.
Unbundle the asparagus. Set them free! If you’re as anal retentive as I am, arrange them in one layer facing the same direction. This also makes plating easier. However you arrange them, make sure they’re not stacked. And use a baking pan that’s large enough to fit all the asparagus without crowding. These guys need a little space to get hot and brown. Remember, brown is where flavor comes from.
Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Salt to taste. I usually use 4 to 6 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt per pound of asparagus. Remember, most of this stuff will end up on the foil, so you won’t be consuming all the oil and salt.
Roasting Method: Preheat the oven to 475 ̊F. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned. Broiling Method: Preheat the broiler to 500 ̊F for at least 10 minutes. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes,
or until browned.
The time required will depend on your oven. The goal here is to brown these bad boys without overcooking. You want them firm enough to stand up on their own with a little droop. Too much and they’ll have the texture of stringy rubber bands.
Scatter the pistachios, cheese, and lemon zest over the asparagus. Then transfer to a serving plate.