Roast asparagus and variations

BRATTLEBORO — 1 bunch fresh washed squeaky asparagus, woody ends snapped off

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

grated zest of 1 lemon

sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Mix oil with lemon juice and peel, and spread on bottom of rimmed cookie sheet. Pat the asparagus dry or it will steam in the oven instead of roast. Roll asparagus spears in this mixture and add salt to taste. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally until asparagus is just tender and caramelized. Arrange on platter and serve.

Variations: To make this a superb and simple meal, you can add to the asparagus any of the following: gently poached eggs and crumbled Ricotta Salata cheese; cooked shrimp and Feta cheese with diced tomatoes and more olive oil; crispy Vermont bacon and goat cheese; or roast some onions and garlic with the asparagus and serve on warmed tortillas with Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream and cilantro; or cook your favorite pasta, slice the cooked asparagus and toss together with a handful of fresh peas and crème fraiche, and perhaps some slivered smoked salmon if you are feeling extravagent.

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