By Erin Walgamuth
Spring has sprung! I know this because our grass needs to be mowed once a week. I know this because when I open the window in our breakfast nook the heavenly scent of jasmine wafts through the screen and perfumes the room. I love spring.
One of my favorite spring vegetables is asparagus. It is also a favorite with my entire family. When I tell my children that I am cooking asparagus for dinner there is never an "Oh, I'll just have salad, thank you", to be heard.
I am fortunate to have children who like their vegetables. Although my son, who is going to be twenty-one in just a few weeks, still thinks cauliflower is evil... where did I go wrong? One of the family favorites is roasted asparagus. The recipe below is for two servings, but you can easily double it.
Roasted Asparagus with Herb and Garlic Olive Oil
10 x 8 glass baking dish
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
Cooking time 30 minutes
1 pound of fresh asparagus, washed, tuff ends snapped off
1 ¾ tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 pinches salt
1 clove of garlic put through a garlic press or finely minced
¼ teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch of dried red chili pepper flakes
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, salt, garlic, dried basil and pepper flakes. Whisk with a fork until combined well. Put asparagus in the baking dish. Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the asparagus. Toss with a fork to distribute the oil as evenly as possible over the asparagus. Arrange asparagus in a single layer. Place in pre-heated oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove dish and using a fork gently toss again. Return to oven in a single layer and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve. The asparagus will be slightly firm, but tender.
If you double this recipe use a 13 x 9 glass baking dish.
I have made the olive oil combo and used it as a dipping sauce for artichokes. It is also good as a dipping sauce for crusty baguette. Put the olive oil and garlic in a small sauté pan and stir for about a minute on medium-low heat. Add the other ingredients and continue stirring for about a minute more. Pour into a small bowl and serve warm. Again, the recipe is easily doubled.
Erin Walgamuth  has been an assistant Food Stylist for television and print for the past 26 years and writes this column using her own recipes. Check out her other creations in our Hometown Recipe  section.