The simplest preparations of asparagus are the best, allowing the shoots to show off its own flavor without much fuss. Poaching and blanching are the most common methods, but this high-heat treatment deepens asparagus's natural earthy and unique flavor and adds a smoky, crunchy char. Seasoning with smoked salt complements the preparation, but if you don't have any on hand, regular kosher or sea salt is fine.


  • 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, tough ends snapped off
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse smoked salt (substitute kosher salt if necessary)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (about 10 grinds)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 small lemon)
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce) (see Tip)


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Put a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven for at [east 5 minutes to get good and hot.

For asparagus spears that are 1/2 inch thick, cut in half lengthwise, then in half crosswise. For thin spears, just cut in half horizontally.

Put the asparagus in a large, wide mixing bowl or a rectangular baking dish. Drizzle the olive oil all over it and toss several times to coat.

When the baking sheet is very hot, remove it from the oven and immediately scrape the asparagus onto it, spreading it out in a single layer as much as possible to avoid steaming instead of roasting.

Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, tossing with a spatula once or twice, until the spears are very tender and are starting to blacken at the tip and in spots through the spear.

Transfer to a serving platter, season with the salt and pepper, and drizzle the lemon juice on top. Gently fold the spears to coat with the seasoning and juice. Scatter the shaved cheese over the top and serve immediately.

tip: To shave Parmesan cheese (including Parmigiano-Reggiano), hold the block of cheese in one hand with one of the flat sides facing up. Use a Y-peeler or a traditional vegetable peeler to create long, wide, thin wisps of cheese by running the blade down the length of the cheese.

serves 4 to 6

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Submitted 9/6/13.
Source: Choosing Sides: From Holidays to Every Day, 130 Delicious Recipes to Make the Meal by Tara Mataraza Desmond
Submitted By: b smith

Charred Asparagus with Shaved Parmesan