I took this to a potluck last week, but can see making a whole meal of it, with a hunk of bread and a glass of white wine. I remember being intimidated by asparagus in my early cooking years, thinking I needed to spring for a cumbersome asparagus steamer or take some calipers to the store to measure the stalk's diameter. Now, the fad is to grill it. I have good news for you--you don't need to steam it! You don't need to grill it, either! And thick or thin are equally delicious! I've been eating it raw (though you must have very thin spears for this method), but mostly roasting it. If you've got an oven, you're in the Asparagus Club.
And more good news--it doesn't need to be served hot! In fact, I prefer it room temperature, when all the flavor gets a chance to shine. I dressed this just with olive oil (no vinegar or lemon juice) because it was going to sit. If asparagus (like green beans) sits in acid for too long, it will turn brown. If you're serving this straight to the table, you could certainly add something acidic.
And some photos from our going-away party last weekend. We felt so loved and celebrated. Yancey and I stayed up after everyone had left, half-heartedly picking up pinata remnants, trying to make more of a dent in the keg, and just being grateful for all the people who have invested in us, been our friends, babysat our kids, and made us sad to leave.
P.S. If you want to make the cookies pictured, follow the recipe for these cookies, removing the nuts, adding dried cranberries, and sprinkling the cookies with flaked salt before they go in the oven.
Roasted Asparagus with Mint
Clean and trim two pounds of asparagus, breaking the ends by bending the stalks and seeing where they naturally snap. Heat oven to 425. Spread asparagus out on a rimmed cookie sheet with a couple big glugs of olive oil and some coarse salt. Roast until just tender, about 8 minutes (more or less depending on thickness of asparagus--test frequently). Remove from oven and pile on a platter. Drizzle more olive oil, some torn fresh mint, grated zest of one small lemon, some generous shavings of parmesan or pecorino, a little more salt and olive oil, and a few chile flakes. Eat warm, room temperature, or cold.