• a pile of carrots sitting on top of a cutting board: This Is the Easiest Way to Cook Asparagus to Perfection? Unsplash / Christine Siracusa This Is the Easiest Way to Cook Asparagus to Perfection

    Asparagus is one of my favorite low-maintenance and versatile vegetables. It tastes delicious any way you choose to cook it, like wrapping it up with some mozzarella, throwing it in the oven for a quick and easy roast, or grilling them into crispy "fries." There's really so much you can do with asparagus, but I've found that the tastiest way to cook them is also the easiest. Here's how to do it.

    Preheat the oven: As with most vegetable roasting where you're looking for a bit of caramelization, asparagus does best roasting at high heat, anywhere between 400 and 450 degrees, depending on how you want it to turn out. (The higher the heat, the more risk for burning, and all ovens tend to differ, so find what temperature works best for your oven and your taste buds!)

    Prep the asparagus: This is my favorite part because it's so easy. Just cut off about half an inch of the bottoms (pro tip: do this while it's still bound at the bottom so you can cut and trash in one swoop). Depending on what size you get, asparagus can be thick and fat or long and thin. If you have the thin kind, no further prep is necessary. If it's on the thicker size (thumb thickness or bigger), you can peel the stalk a little to make it cook softer and not bite into a tough stalk.

    Season the asparagus: I used to drizzle olive oil over the baking sheet and the spears, but found some bites to be missing the flavor I love all the way through, so I started putting all the asparagus into a container with a lid or even a zip-top baggie, drizzling the olive oil into the container, and shaking it up. This way, each spear gets a nice coating. Here's where you can also add whatever seasoning you like. If you're keeping it simple, like I do, just add a little salt and pepper and let the delicious asparagus taste shine.

    Get ready to cook: Once the asparagus is all oiled and seasoned, put it onto a baking sheet or roasting pan and spread it out so the spears aren't touching. There doesn't have to be a lot of room in between for them to each fully cook, but you want a nice, even temperature throughout, so leaving space helps with this. Pop the sheet into the oven and roast for about 12 to 18 minutes, depending on if you have the thin or thick kind (allow more time if it's thicker). At the halfway point, shake the pan a little so the parts of the asparagus that have been flat shift a bit. This ensures that nice caramelization all the way to the tips of the spears, which become deliciously crispy. Remove from the oven and enjoy!

    Related video: How To Make New York Strip Steak with Baked Potatoes and Asparagus [provided by Rachael Ray]

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