One of Spring’s many edible pleasures is the ready availability of fresh young asparagus shoots. Not only is asparagus a versatile and tasty vegetable, it’s also very healthy (and, dare I say, quite classy).
Baked or roasted asparagus can be very simple. Lay the shoots out flat on a cooking tray, drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper before giving it a quick bake (for the simple version, see here: Roasted Asparagus). A little lemon juice or grated Parmesan can add a simple twist. But there are more interesting ways to enjoy roast asparagus, too. Here are three fun recipes that you might consider for your Easter table.
Easy Creamy Baked Asparagus by Taste and Tell Blog
Easy Creamy Baked Asparagus – by Taste and Tell Blog
Deborah at Taste and Tell offers a recipe that gives asparagus a creamy twist. After giving the shoots a quick boil for 2-3 minutes she tosses them with ranch dressing and then sprinkles them with crumbled ritz crackers and grated Parmesan cheese. Follow that up with 15 minutes in the oven and the cheese will be slightly browned, the asparagus will be slightly crisped at the edges, and the ranch mixture will be warm and creamy.
As Deborah mentions, a little ranch flavor is a good bet to get kids or other vegetable-skeptics to try out a dish like asparagus. And while a creamy dressing might not seem like the healthiest way to eat your vegetables, you can use a light dressing, and the recipe only calls for 1/4 a cup over a pound of asparagus, so it’s not exactly heavy. It definitely looks worth a try.
Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Ham by Kalyn's Kitchen
Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Ham – by Kalyn’s Kitchen
Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen offers a South Beach diet take on asparagus by wrapping it in thin, sliced sheets of ham. One interesting thing is that she claims thicker stalks of asparagus work best for this recipe, which is nice since most recipes work best with thinner shoots, but those aren’t always easy to find.
Her recipe is very simple: she wraps each asparagus stalk tightly around the center with a slice of ham and pierces it with a toothpick to keep the ham in place. Then she lays them out on a cookie sheet and bakes until the ham is slightly browned on each side (which gives it a rather attractive appearance). That’s just two ingredients, unless you add the optional mustard-as-a-dipping-sauce, in which case, three. This would be an easy choice for enjoying asparagus as a light main dish instead of a side.
Baked Asparagus Fries by SpoonForkBacon
Baked Asparagus Fries – by SpoonForkBacon
Apparently Asparagus Fries are big news, but I had never heard of them until I saw this recipe and instantly wanted to try them. Jenny and Teri at SpoonForkBacon have a beautiful looking version, and their three dipping sauces (bleu cheese sauce, sun dried tomato jam, roasted garlic lemon aioli) sound amazing, although mere mortals like myself might stick with making just one.
The crux of the recipe is to dredge each spear with flour, dip in an egg wash, and then coat with panko bread crumbs and crushed almonds. Add a light coating of cooking spray and some salt and pepper for flavor, then bake until golden brown. The real question is which dipping sauce to try; I’m torn between the ailoi and the bleu cheese sauce. Take a look at the great photos at SpoonForkBacon and let me know which sauce you think looks tastiest.
We’ve looked at three interesting and tasty takes on baked or roasted asparagus. Does one of these seem the most appealing to you, or do you know of an even better recipe I missed?