This is my favorite recipe for asparagus as a side dish. It takes a few minutes longer than just boiling them, but the results are superb. I have made the quantities of everything vague on purpose; your taste will get you there. Figure four to six asparagus spears per person. The dish works best with larger asparagus. If they’re really big, you’ll want to cut off perhaps as much as two inches from the bottoms of the spears. (If that gives you a lot of asparagus bottoms, wrap them and save them for a future asparagus soup.)
- Use any quantity you need of:
- Fresh medium asparagus
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Crushed red pepper
- Lemon juice
- Finely grated parmigiano cheese–about a cup for six servings
Preheat the broiler.
1. Bring a large pan of water to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, trim the tough bottom inch or so off the asparagus.
2. Or steam the asparagus for 90 seconds, then remove. Rinse with cold water until they’re no longer hot.
3. Arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet, parallel to one another and almost touching. Pour a ribbon of olive oil back and forth across the asparagus, but not so much that it collects on the baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with crushed red pepper to taste and lemon juice. Then top with enough Parmesan cheese to form a gappy layer.
4. Put the pan under the broiler, about four inches from the heat, until the Parmesan cheese melts and just begins to brown.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough for the cheese to set. Then, using a metal spatula, remove four to six asparagus, still held together by the cheese, and serve.