Roasting asparagus is one of the easiest ways to prepare this wonderful vegetable. Today we are going to roast asparagus in the oven and top it with some brown butter, flavored with bay leaf and balsamic vinegar. The combination is truly inspirational.
Roasting asparagus is super easy, delicious and results in the perfect gluten free and low carb veggie side dish.
Roasting Asparagus + Brown Butter + Balsamic Vinegar = Veggie Nirvana
It is asparagus season. Yep, asparagus is a spring vegetable and it really is at the peak of its natural flavor right now. The asparagus that I used for this recipe were picked by friends of ours in their yard. Talk about sourcing your food locally. I mention that they were hand picked for a reason though… you will notice that some are large and some are small. You’ll never find bundles like this in the grocery store. For the grocery they are packaged all in the same size.
Asparagus is tender and slightly sweet. If you have bitter asparagus typically it means that it is either old or was cooked incorrectly. When roasting asparagus in the oven, the flavor concentrates and picks up a slight caramelization. Mixing this robust roasted veggie with the delicate nuttiness of browned butter and sweet acidity of balsamic, the combination works together to create a true eating experience. It just tastes so damn good. When I make these, typically I make more than needed simply because they fly off the table with record speed.
QUICK COOKING TIP: Really keep an eye on the butter when it is browning. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burned the butter by doing too many things at one time. It goes from perfectly browned to perfectly burned within a matter of seconds.
Also (and I mention this in the recipe too), be sure to keep the heat in check when browning the butter. Just remember that when you remove the butter from the heat, the pan will keep cooking the butter. If that pan is too hot, no matter what you do when you remove the butter from the heat, it will scorch. There’s few things in life more frustrating than watching your perfectly browned butter turn black in the pan right before you eyes.
ROASTING ASPARAGUS IN THE OVEN
- 1 LB Asparagus woody parts trimmed
- 1 TBSP Olive Oil
- 1 TSP Kosher Salt
- 1/2 TSP Fresh Cracker Pepper
- 2 TBSP Unsalted Butter
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 TSP Balsamic Vinegar
Roasting the Asparagus
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Lay the trimmed asparagus on the baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil, salt and pepper over the asparagus. Mix up gently with your hands or some tongs. Make sure the asparagus is laying flat before putting into the oven.
- Roast for 12-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your asparagus. It may need to cook longer if it is really huge.
Making the Brown Butter
- Heat a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and the bay leaf. When the butter melts, turn the heat down to medium. Cook for 2-3 minutes. You will see the butter start to foam. Stir until the butter starts to brown and turn the heat off. Remove the pan when the butter is browned.
- After the butter cools, add in the balsamic vinegar. Stir well and heat over high heat until it bubbles. Stir constantly so the sugar from the balsamic doesn’t burn in the pan. As soon as it bubbles, remove from the heat and pour over the asparagus in the rimmed baking sheet.
- Mix the asparagus and brown butter gently with some tongs.
- Serve hot and enjoy.
Final thoughts on Roasting Asparagus in the oven:
Roasting asparagus is one of my favorite methods for preparing this delicate spring vegetable. If you’re not into brown butter, go ahead an mix some balsamic or lemon juice in with the asparagus and olive oil before it goes into the oven. Asparagus loves the high acids and will come out tasting incredible.
I’m also a huge fan of grilled asparagus. It’s fast and perfectly simple to make.
We served this asparagus alongside some delicious pan seared pork chops. But it would be equally delicious with a porterhouse steak or yummy pork burgers. Some other thoughts would be to roast some cherry tomatoes and add into a frittata with the asparagus and some goat cheese. Or maybe add the roasted asparagus into a Mediterranean salad. They all sound good to me!
However you choose to use this roasted asparagus recipe, I hope that you enjoy it.