Roasted Asparagus with Bay Leaves and Crispy Capers

Roasted asparagus with bay leaves and crispy capers brings a spring staple an unexpected and elegant transformation.

A white plate topped with roasted asparagus with bay leaves and crispy capers.

An intense dose of heat keeps the spears green and snappy. Fried capers add a startling accent. More startling still: Fry up some large caperberries, still on their stems.–Rozanne Gold

*What's a caper berry?

A little more elusive than its diminutive cousin, the caper berry is sort of like a caper with a superhero cape. Whereas a caper is a tiny unripe bud on the caper bush, the caper berry is actually the plant’s fruit. It lacks the zingy wallop of a caper, though it boasts a more nuanced, caper-y taste and a far more elegant appearance, resembling an elongated green olive with a stem. Caper berries can be found in brine, whether in bottles or buckets, where capers and olives are sold. Capers and caper berries are not always interchangeable in recipes given the discrepancy in size and taste, although here, where they serve as an accent, you can happily swap one for the other.

Roasted Asparagus with Bay Leaves and Capers

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 5 M
  • 15 M
  • Serves 6
5/5 - 2 reviews
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To roast the asparagus, preheat the oven to 450°F (232° C).

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Add the asparagus and toss to coat. Spread the spears in a single layer, tuck the bay leaves underneath so they are only partly exposed, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until the asparagus is lightly browned and just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Arrange on a large platter.

While the asparagus is roasting, drain the capers or caper berries or olives and pat them dry. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet. Add the capers, caper berries, or olives and fry until crispish, about 1 minute. Pour the contents of the skillet, including the oil, over the roasted asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Remove and discard the bay leaves or, if you leave them for a pretty presentation, caution guests not to nibble them. Originally published April 12, 2011.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

What a simple and delightful side dish. I loved how the caper berries added a sweet, tart flavor to the asparagus. Yet again, another recipe showing simplicity at its best. Even my toddler loved it!

I love the flavor combination of the roasted asparagus with bay leaves and crispy capers. The fried capers added saltiness, as well as a nice crunch. This dish was simple, but delicious—the perfect side dish. Nice recipe.


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  1. I just bought some caper leaves (similar to grape leaves in brine) with no plan, they just looked interesting, so maybe I can incorporate them into this. Since I don’t eat bacon, I’ll finally have something to wrap around my asparagus!

  2. So this is a super simple side. Asparagus is in season. Unfortunately fresh caper berries are impossible to come by here so I had to use the large brined variety. A good rinse and dry still yields favorable results. All in all very flavorful. I paired with some lamb chops I needed to make. Recipe worked exactly as written I just need 12 minutes in my oven. Great pairing with a good piece of beef or lamb.

    1. Thanks Neilson! We’re so glad you enjoyed it. We can’t wait to hear what you try next.

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