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Published on Mar 27, 2007
Slim stalks of asparagus just scream of spring. Blanching or steaming has long been the cooking method of choice for these tender spears, though all that moisture can leach out the bright green color and make asparagus stringy, even mushy. Roasting or grilling asparagus concentrates the sweet, green-ness of the vegetable and adds a crispy, caramelized crunch that makes it irresistible. Toss the spears with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a 400-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the stalks are just tender and have taken on a rich, caramel brown in places (don't fear the browning, this makes it delicious).
If you're grilling, just toss the oiled and seasoned spears onto a pre-heated grill -- just be sure to use a grill basket, or some careful tong-work, to prevent the spears from slipping between the grate. Sprinkle the hot spears with a little balsamic vinegar or serve plain. You'll never go back to steaming.