This asparagus makes an easy, flavorful side dish for a spring brunch or dinner. A quick roast in the oven brings out the vegetable's grassy sweetness. This is complemented by a bright gremolata topping, punched up with the fresh flavors of tarragon and capers in addition to the classic parsley, garlic, and lemon.
For the best results use large rather than skinny asparagus spears. They will crisp up around the edges and turn succulent and tender in the middle. Alternatively, you could also blanch or grill asparagus and top it with the same gremolata.
Roasted Asparagus with Caper Gremolata
For the gremolata
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 1/2 tablespoons roughly chopped capers
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
For the asparagus
1 pound large asparagus spears
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Combine the parsley, tarragon, capers, garlic, and lemon zest in a mound on a cutting board and roughly chop them until they are combined. Set aside. (Gremolata can be made a few hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Trim the ends off the asparagus. If the stalks are thick, use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough outer layer. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, shaking the pan halfway through, until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 15 minutes.
To serve, transfer the asparagus to a platter and spoon the gremolata on top.