Roasted Asparagus with Tarragon

Asparagus is absolutely delicious, and in the spring and early summer when it is in season and plentiful I see no reason at all not to eat this glorious vegetable as often as possible. You might wonder why I included this recipe, if you even want to call it that, when it is so simple and basic. Well, I’ll tell you why. Asparagus is the bees knees even if you just steam it and eat it plain. But when you roast asparagus until it’s tender crisp, the tips get a crispy carmelized crispy goodness, the bodies are still taut and firm, and you unlock layers of taste that you didn’t know existed. I. Love. Roasted. Asparagus.

If you roast asparagus with nothing more than a bit of olive oil and salt it is so healthful and simple but flavorful that you might eat the whole bunch. However, have you tried it with tarragon? Oh, you really should…..

Roasted Asparagus with Tarragon

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes (according to size of asparagus)

Serves: 4 as a side dish

  • 1 large bunch of asparagus
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 stems fresh tarragon
  • salt to taste
  • lemon to serve

After washing the asparagus, get rid of the woody stems. This is easily done by holding the body in one hand and the cut end in the other, and giving it a quick twist.

Discard the bottom (or use for soup stock) because where wherever it has broken off will yield a tender top without the woody bottom. Strip the leaves from the stalks and finely chop up your tarragon. This might not seem like a lot of tarragon, but the herb is rather pungent and intense so I would not recommend too much more.

Throw the asparagus into a freezer bag, and pour in the olive oil. Season this generously with salt and throw in your chopped tarragon.

After sealing the bag, mush it around a bit with your fingers to ensure that each tender stalk is well seasoned with both salt and tarragon, and it is not just the ones at the top of the bag. Yes, it is THAT EASY. Just put that over to the side as you make whatever you’re making for dinner (chicken and fish are a no-brainer match for asparagus) and it will happily wallow in flavourful goodness until you’re ready to cook it.

Preheat the oven to 450 about 20 minutes before the rest of the meal is done, or more if you have an old slow oven that doesn’t like to feel rushed. Spread the asparagus into a single layer on a baking sheet with rims.

Cook the asparagus for about 10 minutes, depending on width (for super thick ones you might need 15, and for the pencil thin asparagus only about 5-7) until it is ‘tender-crisp’, shuffling the pan and flipping them over after 5 minutes. You want it to keep it’s shape and still have some density because nobody likes overcooked limp and stringy asparagus, but you don’t want it to be raw either. Use your judgment, and don’t be afraid to eat a piece to find out!

Serve on a platter with fresh lemon slices on the side for you to squeeze away to your heart’s content. Mmm… asaparagus and tarragon and lemon OH MY! So simple, so healthy, and so very delicious.

Song to cook to:  Judas My Heart by Belly