From America's Test Kitchen Season 5: Grill-Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Broiling can intensify the flavor of asparagus, turning it sweet and nutty. But getting the asparagus to cook through evenly can be tricky. We wanted a foolproof broiling method for turning out browned, tender spears every time. To start, we found that with thicker asparagus, the exterior began to char before the interior of the spears became fully tender. When we used thinner spears, however, the interior was tender by the time the exterior was browned. Keeping the spears about four inches away from the broiling element allowed them to caramelize properly without charring. To encourage browning, we tossed the asparagus with olive oil before broiling. Shaking the pan with the asparagus as it cooked ensured that the spears cooked evenly. The intense dry heat of the broiler concentrated the flavor of the asparagus, and the exterior caramelization made the spears especially sweet.
1. Adjust oven rack to uppermost position (about 4 inches from the heating element) and heat broiler.
2. Toss asparagus with oil and salt and pepper, then lay spears in single layer on heavy rimmed baking sheet. Broil about 4 inches from heating element, shaking pan halfway through to turn spears, until asparagus is tender and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Cool asparagus 5 minutes and arrange on serving dish.
Hold the asparagus about halfway down the stalk; with the other hand, hold the cut end between the thumb and index finger about an inch or so up from the bottom and bend the stalk until it snaps.