When it’s hot outside and you don’t feel like turning on the oven, do you eat only foods straight out of the refrigerator or pantry? Personally, I get a bit tired of plain salad, yogurt, or tuna out of a can. Plenty of great summer foods require brief cooking but don't heat up your house or apartment. Some you can do on a stovetop, like cous cous salad or chilled soup. Others use just a toaster oven. Here’s one of my toaster oven favorites – roasted asparagus.
Although prime asparagus season is mid-spring, I found asparagus recently at the farmers’ market – and they cost only $3. At the local groceries in the Washington DC area, they are about $4 a bunch right now. A bunch will serve at least 2 people, so that’s hardly a budget killer, at $2 a person for a great side dish or elegant salad topping.
My favorite cooking method for asparagus is to roast the stalks. Roasting concentrates the flavor, is easy to do and takes less than 30 minutes. I feel almost sheepish calling this a recipe, as it’s really so simple.
Roasted Asparagus – 2 servings Cost – $1.50-2 per person
- Asparagus - I count on 5-8 stalks per person, maybe 10 if it’s a main dish or I am famished
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- 1-2 slices of lemon
- Toaster oven tray
- Cutting board
- Preheat the toaster oven to 425 degrees.
- Wash and dry the asparagus stalks.
- Cut or snap off the bottom 1-2” of each stalk – or don’t. I do, my husband doesn’t and we’re still married 30 years later. (Of course, our asparagus roasting differences didn’t surface until we’d been married about 20 years, but we’ve lasted another 10 years since finding out how differently we approach this culinary issue. Our resolution is that we each do it our own way when we’re the one doing the preparation and cooking – and the other has to keep quiet or take over the cooking. No marriage mediator required. Whew!)
- Put the asparagus on the toaster oven tray & sprinkle with olive oil. Roast them for about 15-20 minutes, turning them once as they cook. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, add a bit of fresh lemon juice (or serve with a lemon slice) and they’re ready.