Baked asparagus is an ideal side dish to add to any casual or sophisticated meal. Adding Parmesan cheese to asparagus during the baking process will give the vegetable a smoother and more succulent taste. It is important to use fresh asparagus when it is in season, or to use frozen asparagus when it is not in season. Canned asparagus contains more salt and is better served steamed. People who enjoy this particular vegetable may consider stocking up on it when it is in season during the summer and freezing it so it can be enjoyed throughout the colder months of the year.
Ingredients Needed for Baked Asparagus with Parmesan
When fresh asparagus is purchased at farmer’s market or at a supermarket, it typically is sold in a small bundle as shown on Exfoi website. These small bundles typically contain twelve to fifteen individual stalks. This amount of asparagus will adequately serve six people when used as a side dish to complement a main entrée.
Fresh asparagus may be prepared for baking by thoroughly rinsing the stalks with water. If the larger ends of the stalks are very thick and brittle, cut off ¼ inch of the stalk at the end. There is no need to peel the asparagus before cooking.
One medium bundle of asparagus
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons of cracked peppercorn
1 ½ teaspoons of sea salt
½ teaspoon of garlic powder
½ cup of shaved Parmesan cheese
Preparation and Cooking Directions for Baked Asparagus with Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large glass bowl, combine the extra virgin olive oil and all other seasonings. The cheese should be placed to the side and not used in the mixture. Stir the mixture together with a spoon and toss in the asparagus stalks. Using your hands, move the asparagus around in the bowl until the stalks are thoroughly coated with the olive oil and seasoning mixture.
Once the asparagus has been coated, place the asparagus in a non-stick baking pan as displayed on the video:
It is important that none of the stalks are overlapping one another. A thirteen by nine inch pan is the ideal size of a baking pan to use for a medium bundle of asparagus.After the asparagus is arranged in the pan, put in the preheated oven. The asparagus will cook for approximately thirty-five minutes. After they have cooked for twenty minutes, sprinkle the shaved Parmesan cheese on the stalks and continue to bake for the remainder of the baking time (approximately fifteen minutes). Adding the Parmesan cheese half way through the baking time will help to ensure the cheese is not overly-cooked.
When you remove the asparagus from the oven, gently stick a fork into the thicker end of one of the stalks. The stalk should be a combination of tender and slightly firm. If it feels a little too firm and you have a problem pushing the fork into the end of the stalk, simply the pan back into the oven for five more minutes.
The finished product should resemble the asparagus in this photo from the Betty Crocker website.
Additional Dressing Options for Baked Asparagus
In addition to the Parmesan cheese, there are other options you can add to baked asparagus to get a beautiful color and nice flavor. Diced red bell peppers and shaved almonds will add a nice crunch and a vibrant color to any baked asparagus dish. You can also replace the olive oil with a compound butter. Compound butter is simply a mixture of butter with another seasoning. These seasonings may include fresh basil, thyme, nuts or cilantro.