Old habits are hard to break. For years, there was only one way to cook asparagus—boiling. Now, cooks regularly roast and grill these tender spears. Roasting, in particular, releases the vegetable's lovely sweetness. Large asparagus are best for roasting and grilling because it is easier to gauge their doneness (and if you grill them, they won't fall as easily through the grill rack!). If you use slender, pencil-thin asparagus, simply reduce the roasting time accordingly. And, break the boiling habit!
Servings: Makes 6 servings
Ingredients 2 pounds plump fresh asparagus , tough ends snapped off2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oilSalt and coarsely cracked black pepper , to taste1 large lemon
Position a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Lightly oil a large, rimmed baking sheet.
Spread the asparagus in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle the asparagus with the oil and roll the asparagus on the baking sheet to coat. Season with salt and cracked pepper.
Bake until the asparagus spears are lightly browned and barely tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and grate the lemon zest over the asparagus. Squeeze the lemon juice into a wire sieve over a small bowl to strain out the seeds. Drizzle the lemon juice over the asparagus. Serve hot.