Simple Roasted Asparagus with Shallots and Parmesan

Roasted asparagus makes an appearance on our table a couple of time a week, this time of year.

Serves 4

Simple Roasted Asparagus with Shallots and Parmesan from, photo by Laura AgraRoasted asparagus makes an appearance on our table a couple of time a week, this time of year.  It’s as easy a cooking method as there is, and roasting any vegetable deepens its flavor.  The high heat really makes the difference. You could totally skip the shallots and Parm for a very simple spring side dish, but they do make the asparagus special.

Thick or thin?  Your choice. The thin ones just need the bottom two inches cut off, cook faster and work nicely in sautéed or stir fried dishes.  The fatter ones will conversely take longer to cook, but the thickness provides a much more satisfying bite.

  • 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and lower stalks peeled if necessary
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
  • 3 shallots, halved and sliced
  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Juice of half a lemon (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.

2. Place the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle tablespoons of the olive oil over.  Toss gently to coat evenly.  Sprinkle on the salt, and toss again. Roast for 7-10 minutes for thin stalks, 9-14 for thick ones.  Remember that they will continue to cook a bit after you remove them from the oven, so take them out while they’re still a little firmer than you would like.  The wide time ranges are because some people like their asparagus pretty crisp, some pretty soft.

3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté for about 10 minutes until they are browned and just a bit crisp (not burned! Crisp).

4. During the past minute of roasting the asparagus, pull out the baking sheet, scatter the Parmesan over the spears and return to the oven so that the Parmesan melts slightly.,

5. Transfer the asparagus to a serving platter, and scatter the shallots over the top. Season with pepper, and if you like, squeeze the lemon over all or some of the asparagus. Serve hot or warm.


I do really recommend peeling the lower parts of thicker stalks, though, which results in asparagus that is very tender from stem to stern. You might find this kitchen task odious, and if so, just skip it. I happen to find it slightly Zen. After trimming the bottom inch or so off the asparagus, you simply take a vegetable peeler and peel the green outer layer off from the bottom 3-ish inches of the stalk. If you don’t feel like doing this, just snap off 3 inches from the bottoms instead of one.

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