This easy roasted sesame asparagus recipe is hands down my favorite way to cook asparagus! Yes, I realize that asparagus isn't really in season now and is therefore a tad pricey, but the simplicity and flavor make this a perfect Thanksgiving side, well worth a little splurge.
I have to tell you that, just like tomato soup, asparagus was not always pleasing to my palate. When I was eight years old, my grandmother bought our family a case of canned asparagus from Sam's Club for Christmas because she felt like we weren't getting our recommended daily vitamins and minerals -- I kid you not. Gotta love grandmas!
I'm sure it cost her a pretty penny, but it was all I could do to choke down those slimy green spears without gagging... Thankfully I decided to give it another go as I got older, and I found that fresh, roasted or grilled asparagus is absolutely delightful.
If you're not planning to roast your asparagus immediately, I recommend trimming a little off the bottom end and standing it upright in a glass filled with about an inch of water in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook it.
When you're ready to cook it, give it a good rinse all over and pat each spear dry. For thicker asparagus stalks, you'll want to trim off the fibrous ends.
The easiest way to figure out where you should trim is to pick up a thicker spear and bend it until it breaks. It will naturally break where the stalk gets more tender, and then you can use that stalk as a guideline for trimming the other spears in the bunch.
Lay the spears out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle them with about two tablespoons of olive oil, and then sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Roast for about 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then give the sheet a good shake and sprinkle about a teaspoon of sesame seeds over the spears. Roast for another five minutes.
It really doesn't get much simpler than that! Roasted asparagus pairs great with chicken, pork, steak, and so on. Oh, and it's pretty darn good cold too -- if there are any leftovers after dinner, we end up nibbling on them for the rest of the evening.
Need more Thanksgiving dinner inspiration? Try these stuffing muffins for another perfectly proportioned side dish!