Start with fresh asparagus. They should be firm not rubbery - if you can bend a stalk, it's NOT fresh. Organic is best - veggies free of pesticides are so much better for you AND tastier!
Let's remove the lower part of the stalk cuz it's oh, so stalky and not so flavorful.
Rinse them off and then pat dry.
Cover a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper.
Spread out the asparagus - line them up, single file.
Secret ingredient #1: Olive oil infused with lemon. You could use regular olive oil. Squeeze some lemons on too. But it's not the same. Plus it's one of those ingredients that's good to have around.
Roll the asparagus to make sure each stalk is thoroughly coated with the lemon olive oil.
Now sprinkle on some salt. . .
I'm using a course artisanal salt (secret ingredient #2). There are all kinds of unusual and flavored salts on the market these days. Get creative! Get crazy!
Course ground pepper too!
Here's secret ingredient #3: LAVENDER! And you thought it was just a pretty, lovely smelling plant. I use a special lavender especially for cooking. And it gives a great kick to all roasted veggies!
It looks like this. The flavor is subtle. Most folks don't even recognize it when used in cooking. But it does give a flavorful twist that is oh so yummy!
Sprinkle on the lavender.
Now put your tray into a 375°F oven for approximately 20 - 30 minutes. You want to cook the asparagus until tender.
Like this! Taste one if you're unsure!
If you're making a vegetable side dish, then just plate and serve. You're done and wait until you and yours give it a taste. DELICIOUS!
Now if you want to make an asparagus salad (or should I say, a lemon lavender asparagus salad!?) drizzle vinegar over the asparagus. I'm using a lemon-flavored vinegar but you can use balsamic too.
Cover and refrigerate. You can even prepare ahead of time, like the day before.
When you're ready to serve, garnish with fresh tomatoes or another contrasting veggie like red peppers, onions, or whatever you want. Be creative! And most of all, ENJOY!