Asparagus is one of my favorite veggies so when Chip's grandma asked me to "do something interesting" with asparagus for our family's Easter dinner I got excited!
I decided to do three different recipes because there were going to be 15 people there and I wanted to make sure everyone at least had a chance of getting something they liked :)
I went simple with the first recipe. I did a gentle boil (more about that later) and then wrapped each spear in prosciutto. I love the flavor of the prosciutto with the fresh crunch of the asparagus!
For the second recipe I just roasted asparagus in olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Once I pulled it out I drizzled the spears with Black Truffle Oil and grated fresh Parmigiano Reggiano over them.
For the third recipe I went with a recipe that I wasn't really sure if everyone would like it but it sounded interesting enough! It's an Emeril Lagasse recipe: Asparagus Salad with Walnut Oil Vinaigrette. Ok, I didn't even know walnut oil existed so that was the first thing to peak my interest. This was my favorite dish of the day. It's a simple enough recipe but a very tasty one. I did another quick, gentle boil on the spears. The vinaigrette is minced shallot, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, white wine vinegar, canola oil and walnut oil. You toss the spears in the dressing and garnish with toasted walnuts and fresh parsley. The nutty flavor from the walnut oil and then, of course, from the toasted walnuts themselves went so well with the asparagus. This is definitely a keeper :)
Tips for asparagus:
The "gentle boil" method: I actually just learned this method while looking up random facts about asparagus while planning what recipes to make. If you are using medium to thin spears you can layer them in a glass baking dish (You can double up the layers but don't pack the dish full-the spears will need a little room to move around) and pour boiling water over the spears. Let them sit in the boiling water for 3-5 minutes or until a fork just pierces the spear. This is a GREAT way to prepare asparagus. The spears turn a vibrant, beautiful green and they turn out perfectly crisp tender.
Don't forget to snap off the woody, tough end of the spear. Instead of trying to guess where to cut the asparagus simple take the spear in your hands and gently bend the asparagus until it snaps. It will snap where it naturally goes from being tender to tough. It may look like you're wasting quite a bit of the asparagus but it just isn't good to eat a tough piece of asparagus!