Roasted Asparagus with Toasted Bread Crumbs
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
The best way to trim spears of asparagus is to bend the cut end of each spear until it breaks naturally. The bottom portion will be tough and fibrous; the balance of the spear will be tender. You can cut a thin slice from the base of each spear for a tidier finish. If you have purchased very thick spears, you may also want to peel them lightly to within 2 inches or so of the tip, as the outer skin is sometimes fibrous. Peeling asparagus does not reduce its dietary fiber.
- 1 bunch asparagus, about 1 lb., tough ends removed
- 3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, from day-old coarse country bread with crusts removed
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Directions:Preheat an oven to 450°F.
Spread the asparagus in a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Drizzle with 1 tsp. of the olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp. of the thyme. Toss to coat the asparagus evenly.
Roast the asparagus, stirring once halfway through the roasting time, until tender-crisp, 7 to 10 minutes; the timing will depend on the thickness of the spears.
Meanwhile, place the bread crumbs in a small bowl and drizzle with the remaining 2 tsp. oil; toss to coat. Place a fry pan over medium heat. When it is hot, add the bread crumbs, reduce the heat to medium-low and toast, stirring, until they are golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 tsp. thyme, the lemon zest, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Remove from the heat.
Arrange the asparagus on a warmed platter and sprinkle the hot bread crumbs over the top. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking, by Mary Abbott Hess, Dana Jacobi & Marie Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2003).