This is a super fast, super easy, and super delicious side for you to throw together last minute and get flavors that make it seem like you put in way more effort than you did (and who doesn’t like THAT?!) If you don’t have cotija on hand (which you should! it’s delicious and lasts forever) you can sub another crumbly cheese like feta, parmesan, or dry goat cheese (just adjust the salt accordingly as cotija isn’t salty). For the vegans out there, fear not! sub a dry crumbly alt-dairy cheese, or this dish is delicious with finely chopped hazelnuts, pecans, or brazil nuts in place of the cheese, just make sure you’re using raw nuts, as toasted ones could scorch during roasting.
250-300g | about 1 lb before trimming asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
15g/ml | 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
15g | 2 Tbsp cotija cheese (or other dry, crumbly diary or alt-dairy cheese, or nuts)
0.7g | ½ tsp dried thyme
0.7g | ¼ tsp garlic, finely minced or pressed
0.2g | ¼ tsp dried ground/rubbed sage
1.5g | ¼ tsp salt, fine
5g/ml | 1 tsp olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Toss asparagus with lemon, thyme, garlic, sage, and salt to coat
Add in olive oil and toss to coat thoroughly
Add in cotija and toss to combine
Spread asparagus onto a lined baking sheet into a single layer
Dust with a few grinds of black pepper (or more if you'd like)
Roast at 400 for 10-15m
Broil for 2-3 minutes just to color up
You're done! Serve it up already!
In case this tidbit of culinary trickery hasn’t trickled down your way yet, a good way to trim the tough bits off your asparagus without removing too much, or leaving hard bits behind, is to simply grab each spear at the butt end and say the bottom third, gently bend the spear and it should snap cleanly at the point where it starts to toughen! You’re welcome. Now, do not, i repeat, DO NOT throw away those butts! There are a few ways you can use them, getting some yummy treasure from what would be your trash. Cooked (whatever method seems reasonable to the use) and pureed, they can be added to sauces, soups, or (my favorite) used to make delicious pesto!
If your pan isn’t big enough to get them all in a single layer, don’t worry, they’ll shrink as they cook and you can just give the pan a shake to even them out before broiling. If you do have to double some of them up to make them fit, keep it toward the middle where they’ll have less of a chance of overcooking.
This recipe truly highlights the flavor of the asparagus, the added flavors are really kept to a minimum in order to enhance instead of mask. The same recipe and method works well for other vegetables too, brussel sprouts, broccoli, carrots….the list is endless. Use whatever you have on hand really, adjust your cooking time as needed for the other vegges (asparagus cook rather quickly in comparison to some other lesser vegetables.)
This recipe is pretty easy, trim your asparagus, juice a little lemon, toss everything together, roast, and done. [you are happy now]