Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Quick. Easy. Elegant. What else could you need to know?


Like the best of simple recipes, the key to perfection in this one is starting with fresh, quality ingredients: asparagus cooked until just tender-crisp, some high quality extra-virgin olive oil, and fresh parmesan cheese - avoid the stuff in the green can, at least for this recipe!

Yield: 6 to 8 Servings

3 pounds asparagus, trimmed
½ cup olive oil, plus extra for serving
8 ounces Parmesan cheese*, shaved, plus extra to serve
freshly ground black pepper

First cook the asparagus. The cooking method you use isn’t nearly as important as it is to avoid over cooking. You can choose to steam the asparagus for around 10 or 12 minutes. It will also work to microwave it on HIGH for about 7 minutes. The key is to stop cooking while the stalks are still tender-crisp. (Remember that residual heat will continue to cook the spears for about a minute after they have been removed from the heat.)

Thoroughly drain the cooked asparagus. (The idea is to remove any excess moisture in the spear tips which could dilute the olive oil.) Arrange the asparagus on a serving platter, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with Parmesan shavings and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Provide extra Parmesan, olive oil and a pepper grinder when serving.

*The Parmesan will be more flavorful and easier to handle if you let it sit at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes (depending on how warm the room is) before shaving and serving.

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