2006: This is tactile cook's dream. Just imagine a room already heady with lemon scent, then kneading your hands to roll the fat spears of local asparagus in sweet olive oil and fragrant oregano and thin-sliced slippery lemons and sweet Maldon salt, your fingers emerging sweet and salty and pungent and -- entirely lickable. This is a lovely treatment for asparagus!
NEXT TIME I'll start roasting the lemons first, giving them 5 - 10 minutes head start. And the thinner the slices, the quicker they brown.
NUTRITION NOTES I splurged and used the full 2 tablespoons of olive oil suggested by the inspiring recipe. But about half was left behind in the pan after roasting. So the full 2 tablespoons makes it easier to coat and roast the asparagus but isn't actually consumed -- unless you lick the pan?!
FOR ST LOUISANS This is my first local vegetable of the year! To my mind, the best asparagus in St. Louis comes Scharf Farm in Millstadt, Illinois. There's a farmstand at the farm but I see them nearly every week at Soulard Market. Channel 9's "Living in St Louis" did a terrific feature about Allen and Nancy Scharf and the future of the farm called Scharf Farms (you'll need to scroll down to launch the video).
2008: Aii, so dreamy, these. I did slice the lemons first for roasting a little longer, and put them into the oven for 10 minutes while the oven preheated. This made for extra-crispy and delicious and edible slices but next time I'll put them in for only 5 minutes. In addition, the longer roasting meant the lemons soaked up the extra oil so I've adjusted the nutrition information too.
~ more asparagus recipes ~
~ more recipes for roasted vegetables ~
check out all the ways to roast asparagus, especially
LEMON LOVERS' ROASTED ASPARAGUS
Time to table: 35 minutes
1 pound fat spears of fresh asparagus, woody ends trimmed, skins peeled or striped if you like
2 lemons, sliced very thin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano, rubbed between fingers to release the herbal oil (or 4 teaspoons fresh)
Sprinke of good salt (Maldon salt is lovely)
Sprinkle of pepper
Preheat oven to 450F. Combine all the ingredients well on a rimmed baking sheet, making sure to completely coat all the spears with oil. If roasting the lemon slices a little longer, put the asparagus spears aside for the moment. Slip just the lemons into the oven for 5 minutes. Roast for 13 - 15 minutes, shaking the pan to toss a couple of times. Turn the lemon slices over halfway through. Serve and enjoy!
KITCHEN NOTES 2008
I've learned to appreciate the idea of peeling asparagus, some times in 'stripes'. It isn't always necessary but it's hard to tell, beforehand, when the skins will be tough and when they'll be tender.
Be sure to save the woody ends for making Asparagus Soup. You can even collect them in the freezer for a few weeks until you have enough.
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