Roasted Asparagus and Parmesan Cheese
Cooked so slightly that they remain as deeply green as Christmas trees, asparagus spears can be snappy enough to stand as finger food. The big stripes of parmigiano-reggiano here are also perfectly grabbable by big and small fingers alike. I pop a pair of tongs onto the platter so that friends can transfer veg and cheese to small appetizer-sized plates. Then I make sure there are plenty of napkins nearby so that those who aren’t into finger-licking can wipe off their olive oiled hands.
Recipe type: Appetizer or Side Dish
Serves: 4 as an appetizer
- 1 pound of medium-thickness asparagus, trimmed, washed and dried
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- ¼ tsp. table salt
- ¾ tsp. coarse black pepper, divided
- a 3 or 4 ounce wedge of parmesan cheese (you’ll only use about half of it but you need a nice-sized one like this to get the grabbable strips of cheese off of it)
- ½ tsp. coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 450ºF.
Lay the asparagus in a single layer on a large pan. Drizzle with 1 tbsp. of the olive oil and sprinkle with the table salt and ¼ tsp. of the black pepper. Toss it all around to coat.
Roast uncovered for 5 minutes, until asparagus is the greenest of greens and just yields to the tines of a fork. You might be tempted to let it stay in there for another minute or two. I advise against it. If the asparagus softens too much it will not be as bright or as crisp.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the asparagus come to room temperature on the pan. This will allow them to continue to cook just a tiny bit more.
Leave them at room temperature for up to an hour or cover and transfer to the fridge for up to 4 hours.
Transfer the asparagus to a serving plate making sure that their tips all point in the same direction (this is just because they look prettiest this way). Use a potato peeler to shave 20-30 big stripes of parmesan onto the asparagus. Tuck some of the parmesan down under the asparagus so that it is evenly distributed and not all piled up on top. Drizzle everything with the remaining 1 tbsp. of olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining ½ tsp. of coarse black pepper and with the sea salt. Take the platter to your guests and immediately serve some asparagus and cheese onto your own plate and then pick up a piece or two with your fingers so that they know what to do.
This recipe via contribution from Christine Pittman at “Cook the Story”.