Julia Child's Tip For Tender Roasted Asparagus

Celebrity chef Julia Child was one of the greats when it came to home cooking tips and tricks. After all, she was a renowned chef — and master of French cooking — for decades until her 2004 death. And whether you're looking to perfect intricate French recipes or simply in need of general cooking advice, Child has you covered with her everlasting legacy. It's this all-purpose mastery that lends itself to elaborate and basic kitchen tasks alike. 

Enter: roasting. Roasting vegetables — particularly asparagus — is actually one of the more fundamental cooking techniques. You can keep things easy and roast asparagus by lining out the vegetable on parchment paper. Douse the asparagus in some oil, as well as your choice of herbs or spices, and you'll be good to go. Roasting is quick, easy, and, when done properly, delicious.

Child, however, recommended taking the roasting process one step further. To roast asparagus, she employed one extra technique before the vegetable even entered the oven. Child's precursory step may sound like unnecessary effort. But it will ultimately help your asparagus cook evenly — and result in a more tender, tasty, and texturally-sound vegetable.

To maximize tenderness, peel your asparagus prior to roasting

Break out your peelers and take to your asparagus. You may typically associate peeling vegetables with the likes of carrots and potatoes. However, you can just as easily peel your asparagus — and for an equally important purpose: texture. Peeling asparagus is key to maximize the vegetable's tender potential. In fact, while peeling asparagus may sound like a waste of time, Child promised it would be well worth the extra effort. The outer layer of asparagus tends to be hard and tough. So, if you peel away this outer layer, you'll help your asparagus cook more evenly and consistently.

Chef Sara Moulton, who worked with the late Child, elaborated on Child's rationale. "[Child] was adamant: If asparagus gets thicker than a third of an inch (in diameter toward the bottom), peel it," she told Mass Live.

So, channel your inner Child and peel your asparagus prior to roasting. Simply use a vegetable peeler the way you would for any other vegetable. Who doesn't want tender — rather than tough — asparagus?