I originally learned this recipe from my old friend Karla. About ten years ago I went over to her house and she made wonderful side dishes while her husband Marcus cooked up some meat. The whole meal was delicious, especially eating under a beautiful summer sky in Denver, but the asparagus was stupendous. It was probably because I had so much trouble cooking it well in the past. I either undercooked it or overcooked it to a green mush. Now it comes out perfectly every time – the thick ends are soft enough to eat and the delicate tips still have substance. The roasting really brings out the flavor of the asparagus while making it tender to eat, hot or cold. I have often taken leftovers on picnics or in cold lunches and it works just as well as if it is right out of the oven. So simple and so scrumptious!
1 large bunch raw asparagus
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lime juice
½ cup chopped pecans or almonds
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat oven to 350F. Rinse asparagus and remove the thick, tough ends. You can do this in any of three different ways:
1) cut the bottom 1-2 inches off with a knife,
2) bend the asparagus by holding it about half way down with one hand and hold the thick end with the other hand.
Bend the stalk until it naturally breaks where the tough section begins, or
3) with a vegetable peeler gently peel off thick outer skin from the bottom half of the stalk
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Lay asparagus on foil, alternating thick and thin ends. Make sure the stalks alternate the direction of the tip, so they can cook evenly. Sprinkle asparagus with olive oil and lime juice, followed by garlic, salt, pepper and nuts. Place in oven on the middle rack for 20-30 minutes, until tender. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and return to oven, cooking for about five more minutes until cheese is soft. Serve immediately.