Day 13: Roasted Asparagus with Feta ♥

No oil, lots of feta flavor
How to roast asparagus without oil, just salt and high heat. Here, the asparagus is topped with feta for sharp bursts of tangy saltiness.

~recipe & photo updated 2006 & 2011~
~more recently updated recipes~

TESTIMONIALS
"Alanna - it was fantastic!!!" ~ Pille
"At first I was skeptical - roasting a vegetable without oil? ... But, I have learned to trust Alanna and ... DELISH! And pretty enough for company." ~ Seashell

2005: A fast, flavorful favorite! This is a great way to use thick spears of asparagus (the thin ones are so delicate, they're better steamed). Throw in a little garlic if so inclined, too. Since the biggest time requirement is preheating the oven to 500F, asparagus like this is best made when the oven will already be hot, say a roast chicken night, so the asparagus roasts while the chicken rests before carving.

2011: Turns out, this is my very favorite way to roast asparagus. And yes, there's no oil used though the feta adds plenty of richness. For especially nice presentation, roast the asparagus in individual serving dishes or an oven-to-table serving dish, that way, there's no need to disturb the feta while transferring from a baking sheet to a serving dish.

RECIPE for ROASTED ASPARAGUS with FETA

Prep time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes (including 15 to preheat oven so less if it's already hot)
Serves 4
1 pound thick spears of asparagus
Kosher salt
2 ounces feta cheese (see ALANNA's TIPS)

Preheat oven to 500F. Rinse asparagus, cut or break off the woody ends (see TIPS). Arrange the spears in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Place in hot oven, roast 8 - 15 minutes until fully cooked, turning spears (though I usually forget this step) and sprinkling the feta over top about half-way through.

ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
FETA My recipe notes mention that French feta will melt. I've only used Greek feta and like how it holds together in hot melty clumps for big bursts of saltiness. Greek feta doesn't always turn that pretty toasty brown, it helps to put the baking tray under the broiler for the last couple of minutes. The inspiring recipe called for a full two ounces of feta, to my taste, that's alot so I usually use just an ounce.
ASPARAGUS If possible, try to roast spears of similar width so they're done at the same time. Taste-wise, the thick spears are especially sweet and moist and delicious when roasted, thin spears are better saved for steaming or raw salads. Asparagus afficinados break off the woody ends just where the woodiness starts -- there is a natural, quite perceptible spot. My technique doesn't require examining every spear: I simply cut the spears to the same length all at once, cutting about half-way up, removing all trace of woodiness though sacrificing some of the good flesh.
TIMING Because of the high temperature, these move from roasting to roasted in a flash. At 10 minutes these weren't close to ready, at 15 they were a little too done. After 10 minutes, I'd check every minute or so.

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6 comments:

This sounds fantastic, Alanna! I'm off to get some green asparagus now (I always have some nice feta cheese in my fridge anyway)
Thanks!

Alanna - it was fantastic!!! Thanks for bringing this recipe to my attention - much appreciated.

Hi. I usually just toss asparagus with olive oil and liberal salt and pepper, then roast it at a lower temp (425) for a bit longer (start checking at 15 min). Even "plain" we like it so much that just two of us can finish a pound of asparagus -- adding feta sounds amazing.

I admit it. At first I was skeptical - roasting a vegetable without oil? It would dry out! But, I have learned to trust Alanna and ask questions later. I followed her instructions, adding fat free feta because it was the only feta in my fridge. DELISH! And pretty enough for company. Thanks Alanna!
Seashell

I realize this recipe is rather old, but I just stumbled across it and love it. I'm a vegetarian and have been having it with a poached egg on top for dinner. It's absolutely delicious, thank you for introducing me to my new favorite meal!

Anonymous ~ Ahhh, thanks for writing! I do read every comment, even for recipes which have been around for a long, long time. This is totally one of my favorites for asparagus from the early times of A Veggie Venture. Are you as glad as I that asparagus will soon be in season again?!!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna