There is no way to recreate my first bite of fresh springtime asparagus in Germany. But I can make grocery store asparagus taste pretty good by roasting it and adding a few extra ingredients. This is a very simple side dish recipe. Everything is cooked on one pan in the oven. It requires little attention but in the end the flavors certainly do pop and bang.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon cut into quarters
- coarse sea salt
- 24 ounces fingerling potatoes
- 1 lb pencil-thin or slightly plumper asparagus, trimmed of lower stalks and cut into 2 inch lengths
- 5 medium mint leaves, cut in a fine chiffonade
- Preheat oven to 450º
- Measure the olive oil onto a large rimmed baking pan (I use a jelly roll pan). Tilt the pan this way and that until it is fairly well coated. Slide the cut sides of each lemon quarter in the olive oil. Sprinkle each cut side with a small pinch of coarse seat salt and then remove them from the pan. Slip the potatoes into the olive oil and then wiggle the pan around until the skins are all slippery. Sprinkle the potatoes with 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt. Nuzzle the lemon in amongst the potatoes making sure that each quarter has a cut side in contact with the pan. Put the pan into the oven and roast until the potatoes are fork tender and lightly browned, 20-25 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Use a metal spatula to scrape and lift off the lemon quarters (don’t worry if they’re a bit blackened and stuck to the pan; do your best to get them off). Add the asparagus to the pan and give it a quick toss, tilt and toss before putting it back into the oven. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, into a small bowl squeeze the pulp and juice out of the charred lemons. Remove any seeds from the bowl.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Sprinkle everything with another 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt and distribute the lemon pulp and juice over top. Gently transfer the potatoes and asparagus onto a serving platter and then sprinkle the mint over top.