Asparagus spears are my favorite vegetables. They always have been, not only because they are so delicious but also because they mean springtime. This time of year was always a mixed blessing and I didn't always look forward to it as much as I do now. Spring meant the school year was almost over. It meant I could wear dresses to school without the tights that I disliked so much. It meant pulling my bike out of the basement where it had been relegated for the winter. In elementary school it meant playing on my swing set and convincing the teacher to let us have class outside. Outside, where we always promised to pay attention but never did. It meant summer was coming, but it also meant that winter was over.
Winter was my favorite season. Winter with its snow storms and ski weekends, days of sledding followed by a tray of nachos fresh from the oven (I don't know why, but that's what my mom always made for me after sledding). I think the only thing I liked more than winter was the idea that the seasons themselves will change. As much as I loved winter I always began to tire of my coat and boots. By March I wanted to wear flip flops again and if my mom would have let me, I would have worn them in the snow.
Yes, Spring is bittersweet. Ski season is coming to an end but it is not yet warm enough to swim. The snow is melting and the days are getting longer. The sun is warm in the way that only a Spring sun can be and asparagus, Oh the asparagus. It's still a little early but this week they started popping up at the market. I happily snatched up a bunch and roasted them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
To remove the stem from the asparagus bend the bottom of each stalk and let it snap at the natural breaking point. The oven temperature here is not a mistake, you want the asparagus to roast quickly without getting mushy. Serves 2-4
1 bunch asparagus
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
A few hefty pinches of salt and pepper
Preheat the oven 500 degrees
Break the stems off the asparagus and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Spread them out on a baking sheet in one layer.
Roast for 10 minutes or until tender with a slight crunch.