Like everything else in my life, my recipes have a tendency to become complicated. Thankfully, you asked for the recipe I *want* to be remembered for and not for the chaos I am most likely to be remembered for. This recipe involves less fuss than anything else I make. This simplicity highlights fresh bright asparagus like no other preparation. When I place it in front of family and friends, my usual complicated chaos is replaced by the simple elegance I long to embody and to someday be remembered for. —Cook the Story
4 as an appetizer. accompany with a bottle of prosecco for bonus elegance points.
asparagus of medium width, tough ends snapped away
tasty olive oil, divided
coarse sea salt, divided
coarely ground black pepper, divided
of a lemon
long slivers of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 1 ounce) sliced away from a wedge of parm using a potato peeler
In a square 8x8 inch cake pan toss the asparagus with half of the olive oil and half of the salt and pepper. Roast uncovered for 5-7 minutes, until asparagus is the greenest of greens and just yields to the tines of a fork.
Remove the pan from the oven and immediately arrange asparagus in a single layer on a large serving plate (the immediate transfer into a single layer is so they do not continue to cook for long). Sidebar: I think they look prettiest if all the spears agree to lie in the same direction.
Allow the asparagus to cool to room temperature. (Once cool, you can cover them and put them in the fridge for up to 2 hours but bring them back to room temperature before serving).
Squeeze the lemon over the asparagus and then layer on the parmigiano slivers so they lie in the same direction as the asparagus. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with the last bits of salt and pepper. I find that ice tongs are the most efficient serving utensil. Note: the asparagus and parmigiano slivers can be treated as finger food (supply napkins for olive oiled fingers). But if the elegance imperative is high, you may wish to also supply plates and forks.