To make a simple recipe for baked asparagus, preheat an oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, mix one bunch of thin asparagus spears with three tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle the mixture with one teaspoon of sea salt, one-half teaspoon of black pepper and 1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, and then bake it in the oven on a cookie sheet for 12 to 15 minutes. Optionally, sprinkle the asparagus with one tablespoon of lemon juice before serving.
Storing the mixed ingredients in the refrigerator before baking does not spoil the flavor of the asparagus. Separating the preparation and cooking times makes the dish easier to cook for busy people. If there is asparagus left over, you can refrigerate it and use it in other recipes days later.
Before using the asparagus, trim the woody ends. An easy way to do this is to hold the asparagus spear and break it near the cut end. Asparagus naturally snaps at the point where it starts to get tough. The woody pieces can also be saved for soup stock.
Using aluminum foil instead of a metal sheet keeps the asparagus moist and evenly cooked. It also makes cleaning up afterwards simpler to do. Aluminum foil should be placed on a higher oven rack so that the asparagus does not burn on the bottom.