Eat your heart out

One of my big frustrations as a culinary teacher are my students who are picky eaters. They won’t try something because it looks “disgusting” or they don’t “like” a certain food. I’m pretty sure those in the latter category have never even tried a lot of the foods we work with. Why I find this so frustrating is because I was the exact same way growing up. I was as picky as they come. If something looked weird or I didn’t like the color, I wouldn’t touch it. Peas were my nemesis, but that’s a story for a different time.

I will forever be grateful to the woman who introduced me to asparagus. I’m sure my mom tried, but to no avail. The first time I ate asparagus I was 27. I’m ashamed. I had just graduated from college and was doing an internship at two resorts in Midway, Utah. For the duration of my internship I lived with a couple I didn’t know beforehand. Janet loved to cook and was always making something delicious! One night she served asparagus. I didn’t want to have any. But as any polite guest would do, I took a little of everything on the table…which included the asparagus. I was not only surprised, but thrilled at how delicious it tasted! Who knew?!? From then on, it has been one of my favorite vegetables to eat.

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Asparagus is not only delicious, but extremely easy to cook. I’m loving this recipe right now. I don’t normally measure ingredients when I cook asparagus, but if that makes you uneasy, I have included them. But feel free to experiment.

Be careful to not overcook the asparagus. There are not many things worse than soggy, mushy vegetables. It is my opinion, that kids won’t eat their vegetables because they are overcooked and mushy. Don’t do it. I would start the baking time at ten minutes and go from there. A fork should easily pierce the asparagus when it’s finished cooking.

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Oven Baked Asparagus
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Place the asparagus into a mixing bowl, and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the spears, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Arrange the asparagus onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes depending on thickness.
  4. Sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving.