What do you crave in spring? I often think in terms of colors and I crave light green foods, especially asparagus. The first heralds of spring (often appearing in markets, as they did this year, when the month at the top of each calendar page is at odds with the weather outside), they help pull me out of my annual winter doldrums and remind me that this, too, shall pass and there will be wonderful warm days again when I can once more revel in our beautiful terrace, our personal oasis in the upper extremities of Manhattan that almost makes our commutes worthwhile.
But back to asparagus. While most people grew up blanching or boiling them, my family always roasted them in a hot oven until they became slightly caramelized. Delicious! But what about those days when your oven is otherwise occupied or you just don't feel like turning it on? That, my friends, is when you turn to pan-roasting.
I served these four times in the past three weeks: at our monthly cooking adventure, alongside Iranian Shrimp with Turmeric, Saffron, and Lemon Juice and Persian Dill and Lima Bean Rice; at both Passover seders (without the Parmesan cheese) and at an impromptu Game of Thrones gathering we hosted last weekend. And, while the vegetarian doesn't like asparagus, everyone else gobbled them up. They're wonderful warm or at room temperature and equally tasty with and without the parmesan cheese. Bon appetit!
Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic
- 1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 4 shavings Parmesan cheese (I used a vegetable peeler)
Cook asparagus, olive oil, water and garlic in a large lidded pan over high heat, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Toss asparagus (tongs are the best for this), cover, and cook 1 minute. Remove lid, toss again, return lid and cook 5 minutes. Add lemon juice, toss again, season with salt and pepper and shave parmesan on top. Enjoy!