To be completely honest, I wanted to post this picture and just write two words: make this. Or maybe MAKE THIS. Because some recipes don’t need words. They just need a call to action.
But then I worried that perhaps that wouldn’t be enough to entice you to make this recipe. And I wanted to make sure that you did. Well, not necessarily all of you. I’m looking at you, asparagus lovers. You who rejoice at those fresh green stalks. THIS is the recipe for you. This is the recipe why lemon juice exists. Why sea salt is here. Why goat cheese is magical when it gets all warm and melty. This is the recipe for which we celebrate asparagus season.
I spied this recipe in a recent issue of Oprah magazine. In her Love That! column, this could not have been in a more appropriate place. I made this recipe for me, and me only, because no one else will eat asparagus here. Well, after tonight, it turns out that Madeline does, but that’s not the point. When I was putting the final dish together, I spied my neighbor outside in her garden and decided to split the batch and bring a plate over. She still has 10 weeks to go until her baby #2 is here, and she’s feeling like she’s about 19 months pregnant. I hadn’t even had a bite of this, but I knew it would perk her right up. If I had tasted it first, I can almost certainly guarantee that she wouldn’t have had any of this. It’s the perfect combination of simple flavors that, when married, make magic.
So make this. MAKE THIS. Make enough that you can share. Or be greedy and keep it all yourself. This is why asparagus exists.
P.S. Do not skip the lemon juice because it truly makes this dish sing. I used less when I made this the second time and it was still excellent, but not nearly as magical.
Roasted Asparagus Salad with Goat Cheese and Bread Crumbs
Recipe courtesy of Oprah magazine, April 2009
Serves 4 (ha!)
- 1 thick slice crusty bread or 3 thick slices baguette cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 pound asparagus spears , trimmed
- 4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 3 ounces fresh goat cheese , crumbled (I used way less, maybe 1.5-2 oz)
- Zest of 1 lemon , removed in long, thin strips
Preheat oven to 425°. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast, tossing halfway through, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove, cool, and chop into coarse crumbs; set aside. Wipe sheet clean.
Arrange asparagus on sheet. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil, and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast, rolling asparagus over once or twice, until just tender, 12 to 14 minutes; transfer to a large platter.
Sprinkle lemon juice over asparagus, then scatter bread crumbs on top. Drizzle remaining olive oil; top with goat cheese and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Extra idea: These flavors would also work together harmoniously as a canapé—the goat cheese spread thin on crustless bread, the asparagus steamed and sliced thin, the lemon zest curled on top.