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The market had some beautiful green asparagus.  It also had some beautiful white asparagus.  Of course, I couldn’t resist either.

Always over eager with my fresh market finds, I wanted to combine both into a pretty striped side dish of punchy greens and creamy white.  I’ve tried white asparagus only once in Germany and admittedly, it didn’t leave a big impression.  But, I hold a bias against boiled vegetables and the lack of texture and often times, loss of flavor that ensues.  Rather throwing my spears into water, I chose an oven bake to better caramelize the natural sugars of the vegetables and enhance flavors.  The result: wonderfully sweet green asparagus mixed with warm, nutty whites.

Oven Baked Asparagus with Lemon Butter (adapted from Jamie Oliver’s “White Asparagus with Smashed Mint and Lemon Butter”)

Ingredients (serves 4 as a side dish):

  • one large bunch green asparagus
  • one large bunch white asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100 g butter
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • finely chopped parsley
  • sea salt & fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (392 degrees F).  Meanwhile, wash asparagus and trim woody ends.  For the white asparagus, hold each spear flat against a cutting board and peel away tough outer layer from just below the tip to the ends.

Place asparagus spears into a baking dish lined with foil.  Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, mix, and arrange into a single layer.  Bake for ~20 minutes, until spears are tender and just begin to caramelize.

For the dressing, gently melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Once the butter has melted, stir in salt, pepper, lemon juice, parsley, and remove from heat.  To serve, pour the herbed lemon butter over asparagus.  Garnish with an additional sprinkle of minced parsley.