Roast Asparagus with a lemony cream

The 2012 growing season got off to a quick start with unseasonably warm weather in early spring. This week, while it lasts, we’re taking advantage of local asparagus .

Roast Asparagus with a lemony cream

1 lb. asparagus
1 scant Tbs olive oil
2 ½ tsp. strained fresh lemon juice
lemon parings from ½ a lemon
salt and white pepper
½ cup heavy cream
½ tsp. butter
1 Tbs very finely minced/snipped chives or small green onion tops

For the lemon cream: Using a small serrated knife, pare strips of lemon zest from half a lemon (you want only the aromatic yellow skin, no bitter white pith.) Add to cream in a small pan and warm gently until bubbles form around pan edges. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Whisk cream from time to time as it’s cooling. When cool, remove lemon zest (rinse and save zest until serving time.) Dissolve ¼  teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper in lemon juice and gradually whisk into cream. Store in a screw-top jar in the fridge if not using immediately. Stir lemon cream, thinning down with plain cream if necessary, or shake jar, before using.

To roast asparagus: preheat oven to 450 F. Fit asparagus spears into a roasting pan in one tight layer. Drizzle or brush over oil, just enough to slick the spears. Sprinkle lightly with salt and roll spears around to coat in seasoning. Roast at 450 F, turning once or twice, for 10 -15 minutes, until the thickest parts of asparagus are tender. As part of a knife-and-fork meal, serve asparagus on a puddle of lemon cream, sprinkled with finely minced chives and the reserved lemon zest sliced into fine little threads. Or, for a first course, spoon a puddle of cream on one side of each serving plate, sprinkle over chives and lemon threads, and place a bundle of asparagus beside it. For 4  as an accompaniment, or first course.

Ps The Queen of England reportedly eats asparagus with her fingers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *