We're big fans of roasting because it concentrates the vegetables' flavors and intensifies their natural sugars. When asparagus is in season, try roasting it until tender when pierced with a knife.
16 asparagus spears, trimmed and peeled if necessary
1½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
lemon wedge or dash of balsamic vinegar (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Put the asparagus in a large baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Roast until the asparagus is tender-crisp, 8 to 15 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through the cooking time. Season with a squeeze of lemon or a dash of vinegar, if desired.
How to peel asparagus:
If the stalks are thick, peeling is a must, as the base of the asparagus can be tough and unpalatable. To peel, use a sharp vegetable peeler and peel the stalks away from the tips, about two-thirds of the way down. It's not necessary to peel pencil-thin asparagus spears.