Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze

I learned a few weeks ago that it is asparagus season. I do love me some asparagus. Steamed. Grilled. Roasted. Love it all. We've been getting asparagus in our bountiful basket recently, too. It had been awhile since we'd had good fresh asparagus. My favorite way to eat asparagus is a recipe I've altered to be similar to an appetizer my husband and I ate on one of our anniversary dinners. Personally, I think my version is much better. Any time I've cooked it for friends, it's always a hit. Here's what you need:

1 bunch asparagus
2-3 T olive oil (get the good stuff, and if you can get garlic olive oil, it's even better)
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 T finely grated parmesan cheese
Balsamic glaze for topping (see notes below)
grated parmesan for topping

Preheat oven to 375. In a large plastic bag (ziploc works well), put the olive oil and garlic. Wash the asparagus and break off the tough bottom ends. Pat dry and add to the plastic bag. Smoosh and shake to coat the asparagus with the oil/garlic. Open the bag and pour in the finely grated parmesan and shake again to coat. Spread the asparagus on a large cookie sheet and place in oven. Cook for 7-8 minutes, turn and cook for another 5-8 minutes depending on the girth of the asparagus. Remove from oven. Serve with a balsamic glaze drizzled over the top and with some freshly grated parmesan.

**Balsamic glaze is sold in many supermarkets in the vinegar section. It's usually in a plastic bottle that is sqeezable. You can also purchase at specialty food stores. You can make your own version by starting with a good quality balsamic vinegar and reducing it on the stove. It can take 30-40 minutes to reduce down. You must be careful to reduce over low heat because it is easily burned. When I make mine from scratch, I use 1 cup balsamic vinegar and 1 T brown sugar for a slight sweet tang. Bring to boil over medium heat and then turn to low. Stir frequently. It should reduce to about 1/4 cup. Store in the refrigerator.**

Hope you enjoy this asparagus side dish!  It's one of my favorites!!

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