These are delicious; you can really make people fight over asparagus! Roasted asparagus is one of my all time favorites. But the flavor is greatly enhanced by allowing the stalks to caramelize in a hot oven. So I crank the oven to 550 degrees or I use the grill outside. It may seem excessive, but trust me, you want to try this variation. Use a rimmed baking sheet. (Never use a glass casserole above 425 degrees). Buy stalks no thicker than a number two pencil. Trim off the bottom ~third of the stalk so you're left with only the tender end. Forget garlic - it will burn. Toss the room temperature stalks in some (~1/8 cup) olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and a bit of some freshly ground nutmeg. Nutmeg is one of those secret ingredients that disappears into the food but points-up the flavor of the vegetable. (Try it on spinach, too) NOTE: lay the asparagus side-by-side on the pan in a single layer or they will create steam and not caramelize. Right before dinner, put them in the oven. In 6 or 7 minutes they'll be slightly crispy. You will make some smoke so you'll need the kitchen exhaust fan on high. Parmigiano Reggiano is optional. I use a rasp to create a snowy texture, and then sprinkle it as soon as they come out of the oven. It melts instantly. But it's almost like 'Gilding the Lilly' because caramelized asparagus has plenty of flavor as-is.
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These are delicious; you can really make people fight over asparagus! Roasted asparagus is one...