Roasting asparagus is easier than boiling or steaming and also makes the tender, succulent spears more flavorful than the other methods. Here, fragrant, slightly nutty-tasting brown butter lends even more depth of flavor.
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3 tablespoons butter
3 pounds asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
How to Make It
Heat the oven to 450°. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus and discard them. On a large baking sheet, toss the asparagus with the oil, salt and pepper. Spread the asparagus out on the baking sheet and roast until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes for thin spears, 8 to 10 minutes for medium or 10 to 12 for thick spears.
Transfer the asparagus to a platter or individual plates and pour the brown butter over the spears.
The brown butter can be made ahead and reheated. The asparagus, though, looks and tastes better when served immediately rather than cooked and then warmed over. You can toss the spears in the oil, salt and pepper, spread them on the baking sheet hours ahead and wait until the last minute to roast them. Or you can serve the roasted asparagus at room temperature with extra olive oil rather than the brown butter.
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