Parmesan Roasted Asparagus with Garlic & Fresh Lemon





2 1/2 pounds fresh organic asparagus (about 20 to 30 large ones)

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Pinch salt

Pinch black pepper

1/2 to 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Pinch chili flakes

10 to 20 fresh garlic cloves, sliced (not thin slices)

Zest from 1 lemon

1 fresh lemon, juiced

2 lemons cut in wedges, or circles, for serving




Get fat asparagus, not the thin ones. Try to find organic, locally grown produce. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.



Advice on Ingredients


There are so few ingredients in this recipe, that you want to be sure you get the very best.

First of all, only use the nice fat asparagus, and not the thin ones. The fat ones roast better. Spring is the season for asparagus, so if you can get locally grown, that’s the best.

Use fresh garlic and not garlic powder or garlic salt.

Use fresh lemon juice and not bottled.

Grate the parmesan yourself; it’s easy and makes a difference.

As for olive oil: there’s been a scandal going on in Europe regarding olive oil, so for every cooking need, only use extra virgin olive oil. The FDA does inspect extra virgin olive oil, to be sure there are no cheaper oils added, which is what has been going on in Europe. I have started using only California extra virgin olive oil. A these days, I am switching to as many organic items as are available.




Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Grate the parmesan and set aside.




For a better flavor, grate the parmesan yourself. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.




Wash the asparagus well. Even if it’s organic, you don’t know who has been handling it. It’s a good example of a fomite.

Cut one inch off the bottom of each asparagus stalk. Or just break off the bottom inch. It usually breaks, with a nice crisp sound, at just the right point. Then with a potato peeler, peel just a little from the bottom of each stalk, just to be sure you get all the tough fibers off the bottom of the stalk.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment. It just makes cleaning up easier, when you throw it out later. This is optional.

Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on a baking sheet. Add the juice from one lemon and the zest from one lemon and stir it into the olive oil. Add the salt, pepper and chili flakes and stir into the lemon/oil mixture.




Parchment on a baking sheet. Look at how the bottom of the stalks are treated. Just a few strokes of a veggie peeler to remove any tough fibers. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.



Lay all the asparagus in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roll the asparagus around, so they get covered with the lemon juice and olive oil. Distribute all the slices of garlic over the asparagus stalks.




About to roll the asparagus around to get them covered with the extra virgin olive oil mixture. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.



Drizzle more olive oil over the asparagus and the garlic and put in oven to roast.

Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender.




Going into the oven. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.



Here they are after roasting for 20 minutes, the aroma is fabulous! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.




They’ve roasted for 20 minutes, now sprinkle as much, or as little freshly grated Parmesan over the asparagus, as you wish, and roast for 5 more minutes. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.



Open oven door, pull the baking sheet out so you can sprinkle the roasted asparagus with the Parmesan. Put back in oven and roast for another 1 minute, just to melt the cheese.




Everything has caramelized. Roasted garlic is now crunchy and sweet and the aroma is even more heightened. With a large flat spatula, transfer the asparagus to a nice serving platter and serve right away, while it’s nice and warm and juicy. There’s nothing like young tender asparagus, when it’s in season. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.



Serve right away with lemon wedges.




We’re getting into a veggie mode, more and more. We love fresh vegetables, cooked in a simple delicious way, like the asparagus above. Hope you’ll try this recipe; it’s simple and easy to make; not to mention how gratifying it is to make something like this, and sit down and enjoy it with someone. We had chilled Pino Grigio with the meal. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.



We started with a newer version of my green bean salad, which I will share soon, and icy Pinot Grigio. Next we had the roasted asparagus with garlic and parmesan plus a new potato recipe I’m trying out. The potato recipe is so easy to make and yet one of the most delicious potato dishes I’ve put together, that this is another one I will be sharing soon. For dessert we nibbled on Cara Cara oranges and left-over chocolate rum cake with marzipan.


This weekend we went to the MetOpera, one of our favorite weekend destinations. The opera was The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart), a new production, and sorry to say, disappointing. The voices were not up to what we were expecting, also we become very expectant when there’s a new production, but these sets were dismal, like so many of the Met’s new sets – dark and dismal. The Met had the technology, that is a huge computerized carousel, that a large number of sets can be installed on, with set changes easily turned, giving a set designer an enormous advantage; also, easy removal of one set for another. We go to so much theater in Manhattan, that we see tiny (by comparison with the MetOpera) theater clubs’ gorgeous set designs, week after week. For example, at a small theater club where we are patrons, The Atlantic Theater Club in Chelsea on West 20th Street, a little church was gutted and a cozy theater constructed within the walls of the old church. A small computerized carousel was installed on the stage, permitting in the last production, a total of eight different beautifully designed sets. As the carousel turned with its set changes, it was stunning to behold one perfect set after another. It is beyond belief, how and why a small theater club with limited budget is able to come up with sound, light and set design of the highest professional caliber, missing from the world famous MetOpera.


However, we may complain about the MetOpera, where we are also patrons, we still love going there and hope that enough people feel the way we do, and that changes will be made. Below are three videos from Marriage of Figaro, unfortunately, not from the production this past Saturday.


Overture to Marriage of Figaro


Renee Fleming: Mozart – Le Nozze di Figaro, ?E Susanna non vien! Dove sono i bei momenti’


Marriage of Figaro, Finale




Happy Spring Everyone! All the lovely pastel colors of Spring are

starting to appear in our neighborhood. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.




From Our Table to Yours !


Bon Appetit!



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