Spring equals asparagus for me. I really don't know why I've been boiling it for so many years. It's so tasty broiled in the oven. This recipe has all my favorite flavors. Spicy Calabrian pepper puree, garlic, shallots, lemon and orange juice/zest, and anchovies. You throw in whole anchovies and by the time the asparagus is cooked the anchovies have disintegrated into a salty, spicy, shallot sauce. The spice is very subtle but it give the dish a lot of depth. I just spooned the sauce into my kids' mouths. They loved it. —Phyllis Grant
- Serves 4 as a side dish
extra virgin olive oil
sherry wine vinegar
shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
garlic clove, peeled and grated or pressed
1/2 - 1 teaspoons
Calabrian red pepper puree or harissa (amount is up to taste)
anchovy fillets (oil-packed)
- Turn your oven on to 450° F. Use the broiler if you can keep the dish about a foot away from the flame. Otherwise bake or convection bake is fine. Just high heat in order to get color on the asparagus and to help the anchovies melt away into a sauce.
- Wash and trim asparagus stalks. If the stalks are thick, peel the outer later off up until just below the tips. Place stalks in an oven proof casserole dish or sheet pan.
- Add lemon juice/zest, orange juice/zest, olive oil, vinegar, shallots, parsley, garlic, and red pepper paste. Toss around until the asparagus is evenly coated.
- Tuck the anchovy fillets in around the asparagus.
- Place aspargaus in the oven (far away from the flame if it's on broil). It will cook pretty fast (5-10 minutes), especially if the stalks are thin. Keep an eye on it as it cooks so it doesn't burn. Toss the asparagus around so the stalks color evenly. I like asparagus cooked until just tender. I check doneness with the tip of a paring knife in the thickest part of the stalk.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Plate the stalks and leave most of the marinade behind in the dish. Mix the remaining marinade up with a fork to completely break apart the anchovies. Taste. It will probably be salty enough. Spoon sauce over the cooked stalks. If desired, garnish with parsley leaves and a bit more lemon zest. Eat immediately.