Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan Appetizer
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A delicious appetizer made of quick-roasted asparagus, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper. Simple flavors have never been so good!
This Parmesan cheese and asparagus appetizer is one of my favorite things to make for friends and family. It’s super-quick and easy to prepare, and yet it always gets many compliments. Friends always ask how I cooked the asparagus and they always want to know exactly what’s on it. When I tell them that it’s just salt, pepper, olive oil and Parmesan cheese, they’re always surprised.
It’s really the cheese that makes this appetizer fantastic. It’s cut into big shards and you pick them up and eat them, and the asparagus, like finger food. People aren’t used to eating big pieces of Parmesan cheese this way. The big slivers of cheese aren’t as strong and smelly as when shredded. Instead, they’re salty and soft and perfect with the asparagus.
To make it, toss the asparagues with olive oil, salt and pepper and then roast it for a short time. You don’t want it mushy. Let it cool.
Transfer it to a serving platter and top with the big shards of Parmesan cheese. To make these shards, you get a block of Parmesan and then use a potato peeler to shave off thin slices. Drizzle everything with olive oil and sprinkle it with coarse salt (either sea salt or kosher) and freshly ground coarse black pepper.
I use a pair of ice tongs set on the platter to serve the asparagus. I usually serve this as a finger food. Long stems of asparagus and shards of Parm are easy to pick up, for sure. But go in with forks, if you must. It’s such a fun and delicious appetizer no matter how you get it to your mouth! Ha!
- 1 pound of medium-thickness asparagus, trimmed, washed and dried
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 1/4 tsp. coarse black pepper, divided
- a 3 or 4 ounce wedge of Parmesan cheese (you’ll only use about half of it but you need a nice-sized one like this to get the grabbable strips of cheese off of it)
- 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- Lay the asparagus in a single layer on a large pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with the table salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper. Toss it all around to coat.
- Roast uncovered for 5 minutes, until asparagus is the greenest of greens and just yields to the tines of a fork. You might be tempted to let it stay in there for another minute or two.I advise against it. If the asparagus softens too much it will not be as bright or as crisp.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the asparagus come to room temperature on the pan. This will allow them to continue to cook just a tiny bit more.
- Leave them at room temperature for up to an hour or cover and transfer to the fridge for up to 4 hours.
- Transfer the asparagus to a serving plate making sure that their tips all point in the same direction (this is just because they look prettiest this way). Use a potato peeler to shave 20-30 big stripes of Parmesan onto the asparagus. Tuck some of the Parmesan down under the asparagus so that it is evenly distributed and not all piled up on top.
- Drizzle everything with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp. of coarse black pepper and with the sea salt. Take the platter to your guests and immediately serve some asparagus and cheese onto your own plate and then pick up a piece or two with your fingers so that they know it’s ok to eat it with their fingers.
The main recipe images for this post are by Leigh Olson. Recipe by Cook the Story.
Disclosure: This post contains an Amazon affiliate link meaning that if you click it and purchase something I will receive a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.
This post originally appeared in November, 2012 and was revised and republished in June, 2017.