By Marnely Rodriguez | February 27, 2012

Photo: Marnely Rodriguez

Roasting is definitely the winter cooking technique we embrace as soon as the chilly nights approach us. Nothing feels more comforting that roasted root vegetables to make into soup, or a roast protein to be the star of your meal. Roasting is done for a variety of reasons, the basic ones being that it adds an extra dimension of color and flavor, intensifying the final results.

When roasting, marinades such as the one below, enhance flavor and offer extra protection to vegetables as they cook in the dry oven. This marinade is based on a new product in my kitchen, which is Espresso Aged Balsamic. What sets it aside from your regular balsamic, is that it’s laced with the sweet and earthy flavor of coffee beans. And nothing goes better with the bitter sweetness of coffee than that brightness of citrus, in this case, orange zest.

You can zest your favorite winter citrus in this recipe: Cara Cara oranges, Tangerines, Clementines, or Meyer Lemons.  Serve these asparagus alongside your dinner meal as a traditional side dish, or slide them into your lunchtime sandwich for an added crunch!

Espresso Balsamic can be found here.

Marnely Rodriguez, author of the food blog, Cooking with Books. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, has worked as an Overnight Bread Baker in Colorado, a Chocolate Maker in Virginia as well as a Pastry Cook on the whimsical island of Martha’s Vineyard, just to name a few. Currently residing on Martha’s Vineyard, where she is an endless search of flavors, tropical fruits and gastronomic inspiration. Follow her on Twitter: @nella22 

For more recipes from Marnely, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

Roasted Espresso Balsamic Asparagus Recipe

Servings: 4
Calories: 50 per serving
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 25 mins


  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 4 tbsp Espresso Balsamic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 400F and grease a small sheet tray. Set aside.

2. In a small jar, pour the Espresso Aged balsamic, olive oil, orange zest, salt, and pepper. Shake and reserve.

3. Cut one inch of the ends of the asparagus stalks (save the ends for stock or soup making!)

4. Place asparagus on greased tray and pour marinade over them. Toss to coat all.

5. Roast for 15 minutes until tender but with a slight bite.

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