Oven-Roasted Asparagus

oven-roasted asparagus

Recently I’ve come out as a non-steamed vegetable eater. I worked with an amazing Asian food expert who hated Japanese food, saying it wasn’t sexy, pointing the blame on a reliance on steaming. He also said they eat pollywogs, which he followed by saying, “Who eats pollywogs?”

Well, I don’t. At least not intentionally. (Although I’m sure I ingested some pond water in my youth, growing up next to the woods.) But I do like my vegetables, and after a lengthy winter of waiting, asparagus have finally showed up at the market – big time.

Oven-roasted asparagus

When it comes to vegetables, including asparagus, I’ve decided that oven-roasting concentrates flavors and I much prefer them prepared that way to almost every other. (Except pickled, which I can never get enough of.)

For a while, people flipped out if you cooked in any kind of fat, including olive oil, and I once gave a demonstration in health-conscious Los Angeles, and a woman in the audience was aghast that I put a half-stick (2 ounces, 55g) of melted butter in a batch of cookie batter that made 35 cookies. I just stood there, in mid-pour with my measuring cup in hand, and my jaw somewhere around me knees.

Oven-roasted asparagus

For those worried about “healthy” or “slender” recipes (which is a curious word, because unless you write the recipe in a narrower column than normal, I can’t understand how a recipe can be “slender” – but as regular readers know, I’m no whiz in the grammar department…), you’ll be happy to know that just a few tablespoons of oil for a few servings is all it takes to roast an entire baking sheet of asparagus. And since oil expands when heated, you don’t need to douse everything in rivers of oil. (And in spite of giving into what that woman was so fearful of, you could go pretty easy on the oil in the recipe, below.) But when the olive oil is as good as the oil that I got in Sicily, it’s hard not to use it with a heavy hand.

White asparagus is more prominent in Europe, although I’m also coming out as a green asparagus guy. To me, they’re much more flavorful and you don’t come across bitter spears, as you sometimes do with the white ones. But to each their own. And while we all wish everyone would agree with us – especially me – the (food) world is a better place, due to the mix of tastes and flavors that each enjoy, in our own unique and special way. Right?

Oven-roasted asparagus

And just so we have no secrets, I always get the fat stalks, rather than the “slender” ones, which are a lot more fibrous than their wider counterparts. So I guess this could be called a “wide” recipe?


Oven-Roasted Asparagus
Print Recipe
4 servings
Asparagus need to be cleaned very well, as dirt gets trapped under the tips and is unpleasant to eat. If you grasp each spear at both ends and bend it, it will snap in half; the top half is edible and tender. (The bottoms can be saved to add to stock, if you wish.) Fill a bowl with cold water and submerge the asparagus spear tips and swirl them around a few times, loosening up and removing any grit. If necessary, repeat in a few changes of water to ensure that all grit is removed. I serve them at room temperature, mimosa, a French word meaning something served with crumbled hard-boiled eggs over the top, meant to resemble bright yellow mimosa flowers. I find they don’t need additional dressing but you could add vinaigrette. In place of the eggs, you can use shavings of Parmesan or pecorino cheese, crumbled feta, or crispy bits of bacon.
1 1/2 pounds (680g) green asparagus washed and towel-dried (see above)
olive oil
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 large eggs, at room temperature
chopped flat-leaf parsley or chives, for garnish
1. Heat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC.)
2. Break off the tough bottoms of the asparagus stalk and peel the tough skin off the stalks of asparagus using a vegetable peeler. Drizzle a few spoonfuls of olive oil on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the asparagus in the oil and roast in the oven, turning the spears a few times during roasting, for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender when you poke a knife into the stems. (But don’t overcook them.)
3. While the asparagus is cooking, hard-boil the eggs by bringing a small pot of water to a boil. Slide the eggs into the water carefully and reduce the heat to a low boil. Cook for 10 minutes. Drain water from the pot and add ice and cold water, then let the eggs sit in the water until cool.
4. Place the asparagus on a serving platter. Peel the eggs and use a cheese grater with large holes to grate the eggs over the asparagus. (Traditionally the eggs are pressed through a wide-mesh strainer, which you can do if you want them in smaller pieces.) Sprinkle the asparagus with chopped parsley or chives, and serve.

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  • May 29, 2014 1:47pm

    This looks wonderful! Asparagus makes me so happy that I’m ashamed to say I resort to frozen green asparagus from Picard when they’re not in season…and they’re surprisingly good, although of course, nothing beats fresh!

  • Tatiana
    May 29, 2014 2:04pm

    Hi David, thank you for this is lovely recipe with just a perfect amount of olive oil :)

  • May 29, 2014 2:05pm

    Roasted asparagus is definitely a winner. We recently visited our daughter and SIL in Northern California (Lake County), and she served us roasted asparagus, using olive oil grown in their region. She seasoned it with salt and pepper. After returning home, I made it and sprinkled a bit of Parmesan cheese to finish it off.

    I have to try your recipe. It adds some protein for they ‘umph’ factor…packing nutrition upon nutrition!

    Thanks. :)

  • May 29, 2014 2:45pm

    I can’t agree more on roasted asparagus. Until I started to roast mine, I didn’t love the vegetable. In fact, roasting some tonight to accompany a skirt steak with romesco. And roasted asparagus mimosa is the greatest; besides being dry from the oven heat, nothing slides off it.

  • May 29, 2014 3:00pm

    A friend recently came over with towel-wrapped asparagus, still dirt-covered from her garden. I wish I’d seen this recipe sooner as the eggs on top sounds fabulous. I’ve never heard of such a thing. I simply roast mine with olive oil, salt, and pepper–while that simple preparation is great, I think the eggs and/or cheese would elevate it even more.

  • Lindsey G
    May 29, 2014 3:06pm

    Wow, these look great. Thanks for the twist of “mimosa-ing” them. Will have to try that next time.

  • May 29, 2014 3:31pm

    For all of you naysayers…steamed pollywogs just happen to be totally ‘gluten free’.

    And quite delicious.

    (once you get used to them)

  • Sara Mendez
    May 29, 2014 3:42pm

    Hi David! I love your recipes and your writing. I live in NJ, but my brother, Sam, lives in Seattle and is a regular fixture at Delancey & The Pantry in Seattle, and my nephew actually works there. I saw that you recently had lunch there and was so wishing I could have been there to meet you! Keep writing and I’ll keep reading!

  • May 29, 2014 3:44pm

    Bring on the fat, I say! Olive oil is good for you now, right? Isn’t sugar the new fat?

    The asparagus at my local store is starting to look awesome, and I’m thrilled you’ve shared this new recipe for it. I had no idea that the fat stalks are less stringy — I am now changing everything about the way I shop for asparagus. Thank you!

  • May 29, 2014 3:53pm

    Roasting vegetables is my favorite method of cooking them too – extra flavor is never a bad thing, amen? My aunt has a friend who makes the most flavorful olive oil in California and it’s heaven to drizzle on top right before eating!

  • Jeff Stuart
    May 29, 2014 4:02pm

    Wide vs. narrow asparagus: My girlfriend is from Greece, and her brother picks wild asparagus when he hunts in the mountains around Kalamata. They’re always very narrow and significantly more flavorful than any of the wider varietals we get at the local farmers’ market.

    I’m not sure if you can find wild asparagus in a Parisian market, but if you see some really thin ones, I would recommend asking and trying them out.

  • ClaireD
    May 29, 2014 4:02pm

    Roasting vegetables is certainly my preferred method of cooking them. Steaming just doesn’t do it for me and if I get the least distracted, which I sometimes do, they go from crisp to soggy in just seconds. And for those grousing about the “fat” of a little olive oil, isn’t it a proven fact that people who live on a Mediterranean diet (i.e., rich in olive oil, etc.) live a longer life?

  • Tammi Whittaker
    May 29, 2014 4:07pm

    I also prefer roasting vegetables, in fact the only way I can get my husband to eat green beans is to oven roast them with garlic and olive oil. Hit them with a squeeze of lemon and he’s eating them like French fries!

  • Bebe
    May 29, 2014 4:26pm

    I agree that steamed vegetables taste blah. I use half inch or so of boiling water in a large nonstick skillet for asparagus (the medium stalks, with the lower third or so peeled, as in your photo). Place spears in skillet in a single layer. Watch for them to begin to bend when lifted with tongs. Out and drained. Served with lemon butter.

    Now I must try roasting and olive oil.

  • May 29, 2014 4:49pm

    I always learn so much from you — now I know how to properly wash asparagus and what mimosa means. Also, this recipe looks lovely. I tend to be heavy handed with good olive oil myself, so it’s just right for me.

  • Hannah
    May 29, 2014 4:52pm

    I just picked up some asparagus at the farmer’s market in Portland Maine yesterday. Was planning to grill with a piece of halibut I got at the fish market, but this sounds like a good way to cook it as well!

    Now to get hard boiling some eggs!


  • May 29, 2014 5:08pm

    It seems that now people are coming around to the fact that fat is not all that bad for you and that substituting starches and sugar for fat is not healthy at all.

    So glad that you explained that it was grated egg on top too I looked at the pictures and thought, oh wow he got these beautiful fresh asparagus, roasted them with olive oil from Sicily and then topped them with…..Mexican cheese blend??? Haha.

  • Katie lax
    May 29, 2014 5:15pm


    Just wanted to say that the egg yolks on your roasted asparagus recipe are such a beautiful yellow. Ours here in Seattle pale by comparison.


  • Sarahb1313
    May 29, 2014 5:27pm

    Bravo! Big yes on roasting veggies!
    The asparagus also grills very well, given the season of grilling is upon us. I have done them with olive oil, salt, lemon zest, then finished with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

    Children will also be more inclined to eat roasted vegetables due to texture and smell.
    My favorite is roasted broccoli tossed with olive oil and ras-el-hanout!

  • Liz
    May 29, 2014 5:28pm

    Just a quick response to Jeff Stuart. In some parts of Europe “wild asparagus” refers to Ornithogalum pyrenaicum, asperge des bois in French, in English sometimes Bath asparagus (once abundant near that city) which does indeed look like miniature asparagus but unfortunately has none of the flavour. To quote the Chef Simon website, “Vague ressemblance mais rien à voir au niveau du goût avec des asperges vertes.”

  • Susan
    May 29, 2014 5:33pm

    I used to steam asparagus all the time to cut out the fat, but steaming doesn’t compare to the taste of fresh asparagus that is roasted with olive oil. My favorite lunch is asparagus with hard boiled eggs…a perfect match. (Funny how I thought I was the only person to like the two together).

  • Scargosun
    May 29, 2014 5:39pm

    Absolutely love roasted asparagus. When I am on my own for dinner, I roast a bunch exactly as you described and top it with a poached or fired egg or two.

  • May 29, 2014 5:49pm

    Not exactly. I’ve made glowing comments about one of my favorites books, The Sweet Life in Paris on your fan’s site and I expressed my distress about not seeing you at the Y in NYC. I’m also a huge Farmer’s Market fan in Union Square. Bummer, I wasn’t aware you were going to be there. I first had awesome grilled asparagus recently. Had grilled asparagus most evening while I was in Madrid with a glass of wine. Absolutely delicious. I took a picture a wrote a little blurb. http://icecille.me/vegetable/grilled-asparagus/

  • BelleD
    May 29, 2014 5:52pm

    I find people like that woman, who was aghast at 2 ounces of butter in a cookie recipe, extremely annoying and rather ignorant. For Heaven’s Sake, it’s a cookie recipe! Unless you have a propensity to eating an entire batch in one sitting, that 2 ounces is nothing. That same woman was probably not too ‘aghast’ at the amount of sugar that was probably used in that cookie recipe.

    Ditto for people wanting to substitute something else to make ice cream low fat, or make a buttercream-frosted cake ‘lighter’. Argh!

    Sorry for the rant. Off my soapbox now. I think we’ll be making the asparagus tonight. Never thought to grate hard boiled eggs over it for a more filling dish. Thank you for the recipe!

  • suedoise
    May 29, 2014 6:02pm

    Praise to the wonderful Picard chain selling deep frozen quality products
    such as the most beautiful green asparagus to thaw and oven-roast.
    I serve mine with plenty of homemade mayonnaise.
    No one gets fat from natural fats such as butter,duck fat, lard, olive oils.
    Fatfree products are a danger to your health, stuffed as they are with all kinds of sugar.

  • Lynne
    May 29, 2014 6:07pm

    I love love love roasted asparagus. or any other veggie cooked the way you describe above. Recently I made roasted asparagus and put your recipe for Zahtar Viniagrette drizzled over it. It was so insanely delicious. The people at my table, not all of whom were asparagus fans, completely gobbled it up!! THANKS for all the awesome ideas!!

  • IrmaSM
    May 29, 2014 6:11pm

    David; there is nothing better than roasted asparagus….I wait all year for ‘the season’. I recently read/heard that we should roast at 500 degrees. I tried it the other day, roasting the asparagus at 500 degrees for 10 min. They were not to be believed. And I, also, prefer the thicker stalks.
    I steamed them years ago, even owning an asparagus steamer. You would place them in the steamer, stalk down, and steam for 10 – 15 min. They were good, but nothing like the roasted method I now use.
    Off to the Farmer’s Market in paradise….Cape Cod.

    ism :)

  • Judi Suttles
    May 29, 2014 6:17pm

    I love roasting asparagus like this but never thought of the grated egg, Just called my husband, who is at the grocery store, to grab some asparagus!
    As to the annoying woman who was aghast at the butter-go somewhere else, please. I once was making ice cream in an old fashion churn and a relative grabbed my hand as I was adding sugar and told me to make it without any sugar! You can imagine what opinion I still have of him some thirty years later.

  • Shay
    May 29, 2014 6:26pm

    Try sprinkling with balsamic vinegar along with olive oil.

  • May 29, 2014 6:30pm

    Nothing like a simple, fresh roasted bunch of veggies…better than potatoes in my book!

  • Rebecca W
    May 29, 2014 6:46pm

    Recent Book Club meeting saw the arrival of roasted asparagus, wrapped in proscuitto that had been spread of softened goat cheese. Roasted at 425 for 15 minutes, turning once. They disappeared before we even began the meeting. Yummy.

  • Joan
    May 29, 2014 6:50pm

    Roasting is the only way I prepare asparagus now. And go Team Fat Asparagus!

  • mslewis
    May 29, 2014 6:57pm

    I have been roasting asparagus for years now because they simply taste better. I just rub a tiny bit of oil on mine and put them in the oven and salt them afterwards. I don’t need eggs or cheese or anything else on mine because I think all that stuff hides the wonderful flavor of the asparagus. Plain is far better. And I prefer the skinny ones to the fat ones but either will do.

  • Holly Utt
    May 29, 2014 6:57pm

    I am ashamed to say I am late to your following. But I just spent 4 days on Martha’s Vineyard reading My Paris Kitchen. People kept saying, “you’re READING that cookbook like a book.” To which I replied its inspirational non fiction with excellent insight on french culture. Love love love the recipes I have tried so far, mustard chicken, celery root puree, artichoke and olive tapenade, salty olive crisps and today lentil and walnut salad with goat cheese. Tomorrow, I think we’ll be having this roasted asparagus. It reminds me of a recipe I had in Verona, Italy- white asparagus topped with a dressing of hard cooked eggs, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, s/p.

  • caterina
    May 29, 2014 6:57pm

    David, you say that you aren’t a “whiz” in the grammar department but I do love your articles so! So witty and interesting! I enjoy reading your articles more than the recipes ; )

  • Beth
    May 29, 2014 7:12pm


  • Ann
    May 29, 2014 7:18pm

    I roast asparagus and love it even more if roasted w/ oil, with either/both slivers of lemon zest, and slivers of parmesan cheese sprinkled and tucked around the asparagus spears. The roasting turns the lemon peel sweet and the cheese crusty, and both set off the delicious roasted asparagus superbly. We have this at least 2 or 3 times a week when asparagus is in season.

  • kathy
    May 29, 2014 7:21pm

    No one has mentioned the shaved peeling on the asparagus, so, I will. First, I like asparagus all ways, but, I see no need to peel it. Unless you have some really old and tough stalks at the end of the season. Mine always come out tender and wonderful and don’t have that mangled look like a tractor got loose. I like them blanched and then tossed in olive oil over heat with or without additions. I also like them Barbecued. I do not like them without a fat of some kind. They should glisten.

  • Phyllis
    May 29, 2014 7:25pm

    Some years ago, I saw Ina Garten roasting asparagus exactly as you describe and I’ve been roasting them every since. I even pay huge amounts in the winter so I can savor real asparagus. I’m so glad you agree. I roast many vegetables (not peas). so simple and tasteful!!

  • May 29, 2014 7:32pm

    I adore asparagus, and will definitely try your roasted method. As a matter of fact, I had an asparagus and pancetta frittata last night. :) Here in the UK, it’s cultivated green asparagus all the way. In Dalmatia (Croatia), we love wild asparagus which are thinner and more intensely flavoured. Yum.

  • May 29, 2014 7:32pm

    When I have too many vegetables, roasting is my go to cooking method especially asparagus. So easy and low maintenance and super delish!

  • Susan Rebillot
    May 29, 2014 7:37pm

    Simple, delicious technique for cooking asparagus! Whenever I roast any kind of vegetable, I place them in a bowl and toss with just enough olive oil to coat, so then there are no rivers of oil or ” greasy” veg. Then, I tumble them out onto the sheet pan. Love the idea of crumbled, hard boiled egg AND crispy bacon as a breakfast or brunch dish, too. Roasted asparagus spears are also great as ” soldiers” to dip into poached, or sunnyside up or soft boiled eggs!

  • Patricia
    May 29, 2014 7:54pm

    Love asparagus this way. I add parmesan cheese and panko crumbs. It’s also great to roll the roasted asparagus in prosciutto and broil briefly. Anything leftover is great in an omelet. I was an adult before I tasted an asparagus that didn’t slime its way out of a can. Who can eat that stuff?

  • Anne Wright
    May 29, 2014 8:28pm

    Thanks for the wonderful looking recipe! We have had fresh asparagus twice lately. This way looks great to prepare with two of my grandkids who will be staying with us for a week during their camp time at Armand Bayou Nature Park. I’m sure they will love cooking with the asparagus and eggs! They like to help out in the kitchen. Maybe we’ll have a famous chef in the family out of five grandkids! I so wanted to get to your book signings and classes in Houston, but missed out on getting a ticket and, later, was ill and not able to attend. Hopefully next time! Love your fabulous recipes and witty writings!

  • May 29, 2014 8:28pm

    I started cooking asparagus by roasting a last fall and never went back to any other method. I was so excited I put it on my blog two months in a row Oct. & Nov. ) I sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top but the eggs look good.

  • May 29, 2014 8:59pm

    Amen. Amen. And Amen. I agree. Steaming is not my favorite way of cooking veggies, as you loose all the flavor to the water. I rather roast, grill, or even stir-fry them instead.

    Plus, the attitude of some people towards fat is way too much for me to handle. You’d be surprised at the amount of cake I’ve seen people eating, while making a scene to reject a teaspoon of oil here or there on food that is actually quite healthy (yeah, because frosting doesn’t have ANY butter, ha). That’s what I tackle on my blog. I make good food, that’s good for you because it’s made out of good, natural ingredients. Fat is not my enemy (neither is sugar, BTW. No sweeteners allowed in my kitchen).

  • Marny CA
    May 29, 2014 10:05pm

    Asparagus are delicious — however, with gout I have to not eat them often.

    Oh well. Everything in moderation.

  • Marcia
    May 29, 2014 10:19pm

    I roast them and add a tablespoon of minced preserved lemon.

  • Stella B.
    May 29, 2014 11:35pm

    Chloé — Here in California the asparagus is always in season, only the price changes. I still save it for eating in the spring and early summer and for very special occasions out of “season”.

    My mother is a thin asparagus eater, therefore I am a thin asparagus eater. All vegetables benefit from roasting with olive oil, especially the boring ones (cauliflower!)

    I am glad that someone mentioned “My Paris Kitchen” because my husband just asked me what I want for my birthday.

  • Another fan in NJ
    May 30, 2014 12:05am

    Wonder why skinny asparagus has the rep for being the best. I always liked the fat ones as being more tender but was too embarrassed to admit it.

  • laurie
    May 30, 2014 12:10am

    The hard boiled yolk looks such a deep yellow it has got to be from a fresh laid egg! I haven’t seen that color since off the farm, I almost thought it was cheddar cheese. Sad how the eggs we get from the store are a lack-luster lemony hue instead of almost orange.

    Great recipe, will definitely try the eggs on top – I always roast veges with olive oil and aged balsamic. So happy to have something new to try.

  • hng23
    May 30, 2014 12:39am

    I love roasted pencil-thin aspargus, but when I don’t have time for roasting I like to poach them lightly in (homemade) chicken stock (the skinny ones only take 4 minutes or so). Add shaved parmesan & serve. When I have leftovers (rarely), I put them on a thick slice of pane de casa or baguette, grate cheddar over them & toast for a quick light lunch. I will definitely be trying them with grated egg!

    Also, your story about the fat-phobic lady made me laugh. I have a friend who worked in a bar while he was at school & he said he would often get a table of women who would order pizza with extra cheese but insist on diet soda!

  • saf
    May 30, 2014 1:39am

    How do you feel about purple asparagus?

    I am always disappointed that it doesn’t keep its color when cooked, but it is supposed to be sweeter.

  • Michael Duffy
    May 30, 2014 3:46am

    Yummy roasted asparagus. David: you really need to know about a g-r-e-a-t cookbook by Kathy Gunst, from Maine, called simply “Roasting.” It’s all about roasting veggies and, of course, meat. A wonderful book, now about 10 years old.

    Thanks, as always, for your great commentary and wonderful pictures to go with the recipes.

  • Jean
    May 30, 2014 4:10am

    Elizabeth at Pine cones and Acorns blog, did a very nice writ up on your book

  • David
    May 30, 2014 4:34am

    A — great — related option my mom learned in Italy at some point; top roasted asparagus with sunny-side-up eggs (cooked in loads of butter!) and shaved parmigiano. The yolks break to make a great sauce…

  • Lynda
    May 30, 2014 5:04am

    Hi David, I, too, love roasted vegetables and roast most vegetables as well as a lot of fruits. I’ve found that roasting vegetables at 475ºF is even better than at 425ºF–you get the concentrated flavor as well as a more roasted taste. You just have to be careful to watch the vegetables. I roast asparagus for 10-12 minutes at the higher temperature. (I roast fruits at 425ºF because of the sugar content.) Thanks for your wonderful blog and cookbooks!

  • hana
    May 30, 2014 9:09am

    Japanese people DO NOT eat pollywogs/tadpole.
    Your friend maybe an Asian food expert but definitely not an expert of Japanese food.
    Your blog is very popular. Please make a correction.

    Source: I’m a Japanese foodie, born and raised in Japan.
    I researched just to make sure it’s not consumed even as a rare regional cuisine and I can confirm that Japanese people DO NOT eat pollywogs/tadpole.

  • May 30, 2014 1:35pm

    I’ve been roasting asparagus exclusively for several years now. I think the taste is so much better than steaming. Interesting about the egg — I will definitely try it the next time. Thank you for the tip.

  • Laurn
    May 30, 2014 2:24pm

    I used to roast my asparagus, but recently found a recipe by Patricia Wells in her Food Lovers Guide to Paris. She braises the asparagus in a small amount of water in a large pan — asparagus spread out one deep with herbs and lemon juice and zest. It’s my new go to asparagus recipe and everyone seems to like it better than roasted.

    • Susan Rebillot
      May 30, 2014 3:40pm

      Another option! Wonderful! Thank you.

  • Grumpy
    May 30, 2014 3:18pm

    David, since you’ve outed yourself as a non-whiz grammar-wize, I advise you gently to reexamine your direction to “peel the tough skin off the stalks of asparagus using thick spears”. Wouldn’t a paring knife be more practical? …. damn those misplaced modifiers anyway, right?

  • Chris
    May 30, 2014 5:54pm

    Maybe if you roasted the pollywogs rather than steaming them. And topped them with HB egg…

  • shelly
    May 30, 2014 6:56pm

    “Ditto for people wanting to substitute something else to make ice cream low fat, or make a buttercream-frosted cake ‘lighter’. Argh!”
    My personal horror? People who insist that substituting tofu for eggs makes a perfectly acceptable egg salad sandwich. Noooo.

    Love roasted asparagus. It’s amazing how roasting brings out the best in so many vegetables.

  • witloof
    May 30, 2014 7:58pm

    some chopped garlic sprinkled on halfway through the roasting is pretty great, too.

  • May 30, 2014 8:28pm

    I’ve been roasting asparagus here, too. Olive oil, salt, pepper, but I like it after only 14-15 minutes in the oven. Break a soft boiled egg over it: boil water, add eggs, six minutes, ice water. Perfect sauce for asparagus, and a little protein, too. Happy spring!

  • May 31, 2014 2:52am

    I love roasting or grilling asparagus with olive oil, minced garlic, freshly ground pepper and a spritz of fresh lemon juice. So. Good. So. Simple.

  • WHB
    May 31, 2014 4:28am

    In Western Massachusetts, we eat our “Hadley grass” at every other dinner this time of year and never grow tired of simple preparations. Thank you!

  • Donna Ortolan
    May 31, 2014 6:08pm

    Hi, David! I can’t wait to try your oven method. Sounds delicious! I have read that the male plants produce thicker, larger spears because they don’t have to put any energy into producing seeds like the female plants.

  • May 31, 2014 8:14pm

    Yum! Simple and delicious! I have to say though that I’m a sucker for asparagus wrapped with prosciutto!!

  • LM
    May 31, 2014 11:07pm

    Can I suggest to lift the dish and indeed any egg dish use sweet woodruff or chervil as a garnish.

    If in the UK you can buy eggs with orange yolks and a superb taste from several supermarkets ( Waitrose, Booths and er Tesco). Just get the blue eggs – about £2 to £2.25 a half dozen. Well worth the money.

  • June 1, 2014 3:37am

    I feel a bit self-conscious every times I blog about “fatty” food because there are many food restrictions and healthy blogs everywhere I turn. I love this “wide” recipe of yours; it will be as close as “slender” recipe I am going to do.. Thank you for sharing “wide” recipe. :)

  • June 1, 2014 4:46am

    I find that the flavor of olive oil fights with the flavor of the asparagus, as well as making it very greasy. Best way to roast asparagus, IMO – there’s nothing to impede the rich, nutty flavor of the roasted asparagus:

    1) preheat oven to 450 F
    2) line a rimmed baking sheet (jellyroll pan) with foil
    3) place a baking rack inside the baking sheet
    4) Wash and trim the butt ends from the asparagus (the fatter the better)
    5) place asparagus on rack
    6) spray lightly with aerosol grapeseed oil spray (or a similar spray, if grapeseed is not available)
    7) Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt
    8) roast for 20-25 minutes, or to desired doneness

    Any leftover asparagus is delicious cold, or under a poached egg napped with hollandaise or (even better!) bearnaise. The tarragon flavor of bearnaise is a great foil for the roasted asparagus.

  • June 1, 2014 6:57am

    I’m a huge fan of roasting, the flavor is far more intense than any other easy method.

  • Mary
    June 1, 2014 2:14pm

    Been following your wonderful blog for years, David, but I must second what Hana said, commenting on what your Asian food expert friend.

    I lived in Japan for eight years. I am a serious cook and eater. I ate all over the country, and I ate many, many things that an American or British eater might find challenging. I never ate a tadpole, never saw anyone eat them, never saw them in all the food/fish markets, and never heard anyone even mention them as a food item.

    Beware of “experts” retailing cultural generalizations (and ignorance) about a whole people.

  • Barbara
    June 1, 2014 2:31pm

    I am making your salted caramel chocolate mousse for a dinner party and I wondered if it could be made the day before?

    Thanks for your help!

    • June 1, 2014 2:39pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, it should be made a day or two in advance. The instructions say for at least 8 hours (to get that airy, mousse texture) – but a day or two longer is fine.

      • Barbara
        June 1, 2014 2:45pm


        Thank you so much for your speedy response! The dinner party is tomorrow evening, so I’m delighted to be able to make the dessert today. I’m having such a great time cooking my way through your delightful book.

        With appreciation,

  • The Masked Poster
    June 1, 2014 9:41pm

    David, I learned long ago that the fat spears come from young plants, and as the plants age, the spears become thinner. This info from Narsai David, with whom you’re probably familiar, being from the Bay Area.

  • June 1, 2014 11:51pm

    Thank you for the tips on cleaning the asparagus – I never thought about the tips being dirty but now I’m so grossed out thinking of the times I did a simple rinse instead of the water bath. Oh well, dirt doesn’t kill, right?!

    I recently wrote a post about the asparagus I roasted here : http://sweetmaddy.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/les-asperges/

  • Sandra Alexander
    June 2, 2014 5:56am

    Roasted asparagus made a great Sunday lunch – thank you!

  • Anders Ronning
    June 4, 2014 10:56pm

    Long time reader, first time commenter:

    David, David, David…I see you had to justify the unjustifiable with the little “..right?” at the end of the green vs. white segment. Green asparagus over white! Every other person in Europe disagrees with you, wholeheartedly, unconditionally, plus other strong exclamatory words to that effect. Please write a blog post called “White asparagus is the Monarch of vegetables”, to stand corrected.


    A. Ronning