Roasted asparagus is a wonder of terrific tastes and textures. Here I have amplified all that I love about the vegetable with a garlic butter-crisp panko topping tossed with fresh lemon zest.
- ½ cup sliced or slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 lemon cut into wedges as garnish, optional
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup parmigiano-reggiano, grated
- ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ pound asparagus
- coarse sea salt, as needed
- 1 tablespoon parsley, minced as garnish, optional
- 1 cup panko style breadcrumbs
Place the almonds in a heavy, dry skillet set over medium heat. Toast stirring often until golden brown. Let them cool on a plate in a single layer, until serving time.
In a small saucepan set over medium heat melt butter. Add half of the minced garlic and cook stirring often until fragrant and just beginning to color. Add the panko and toast, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes until golden brown and crisp. remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse clean the asparagus and trim the tough ends off and discard.
In a foil-covered roasting pan lay the asparagus spears out in as close to a single layer as possible. Drizzle the olive oil over the spears, roll the asparagus back and forth until they are all covered with a thin layer of olive oil. Sprinkle with the remaining minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Roll the asparagus around once more to coat evenly.
Place pan in the preheated oven and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus spears are. The tips should be well-browned, and the spears tender when pierced with a fork.
Transfers the warm asparagus to a serving tray. Toss with the grated Parmesan and lemon juice, then top with the reserved almonds and breadcrumbs. Serve topped with parsley and with lemon wedges on the side, optional.