When the weather is not cooperating or I just want a quick and healthy side dish, broiled asparagus fits the bill perfectly. Broiled asparagus has a richer flavor than steamed or stir-fried one. It also takes as little or even less time to make. It's a great quick and healthy side dish that is both low calorie and delicious.
To get the best results from your asparagus it's recommended to parboil it for a minute prior to broiling. Parboiling will soften the hard stem parts and will make eating asparagus much more enjoyable.
What to season broiled asparagus with?
The seasonings in this recipe are super simple: salt, pepper and lemon juice. That's all that's needed. A little bit of grated Parmesan cheese will add more depth to the flavor but that's totally optional.
If you want to go the whole nine yards, you can get quite creative and try seasoning your broiled asparagus with a vinaigrette, chimichurri, tiny pieces of anchovies, etc. Let your imagination fly here. Anything bright, citrusy and zesty will work well with broiled asparagus.
A few tips on broiling
The most effective way to broil asparagus is to broil it on high, positioning the spears as close to the broiler as possible. Top rack is the ideal position. You want to hit the spears with high heat for a few minutes, flip and broil for a few minutes more. It's as simple as that. Don't expect any dark browning or charring. But you will get a great, rich flavor.
When broiling this close to the heating element, thin baking sheets tend to warp. Hence, it's best to use a thick, heavy-duty baking sheet or a sturdy pizza pan. If yours does, don't worry about it, it won't affect the broiling and the pan will straighten out after baking. That's what my non-heavy duty pan does.
Looking for more great healthy side dish recipes? Check these out:
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- Place the rack in the top position and preheat oven on high broil.
- Cut off the tough bottom ends of the asparagus spears. Parboil the spears in lightly salted boiling water for about 1 minute, until they are slightly tender. Spread them out on paper towels to drain thoroughly and cool down a little.Tip: add a teaspoon of olive oil in the water prior to adding asparagus spears. This will help them keep their rich green color without fading much.
- Spread the spears on a baking sheet on one layer, lightly brush the asparagus with olive oil, salt lightly, then broil on high for two minutes. Remove from the oven, toss and broil for another two minutes.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a platter. Season with more olive oil, pepper, and lemon juice. Optionally, grate some Parmesan cheese on top. Serve warm and enjoy.