Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.
In a large bowl, add asparagus, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to taste and pepper to taste. (I like at least 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; sometimes I do a little more.)
Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Roast until lightly browned in some places but still crispy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overcook.
Asparagus: To trim the tough, fibrous portion of each spear, you can cut it with a knife or bend it until it snaps. The asparagus will break precisely where the tender part ends and the tough part begins. Roast the stems whole or cut into bite-sized pieces before roasting, if desired.
Lemon: The zest of one lemon (about 1 teaspoon) can be added with the lemon juice. Just zest the lemon before you cut it to squeeze it.
Yield: This recipe makes about 4 (1-cup) servings asparagus. The exact amount depends on where you were able to snap off the ends.
Peeling: If the skin seems thick and tough, use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to peel the stalk to within about 2 inches of the tip.
Buying: Fresher is always better. Look for straight, sturdy spears that are bright green with a purple hue at the tip. Check the bottom of the bunch to see if the stalks are wrinkled, completely dried out, or too woody. And, inspect the tops of the asparagus. When the tips of the spears start to open, darken or appear slimy, skip it.
Expired: Asparagus tips are the most tender part of the vegetable and always the first to go bad. If the tips start to change to a very dark green color and fall apart easily between your fingers, it’s time to toss.
Cheese: Using a vegetable peeler or cheese grater, add 1-2 ounces Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, Asiago, or dry Jack cheese and sprinkle over the roasted asparagus.