In California, the first crops of asparagus are sometimes picked as early as February but the ideal season is ephemeral and only really runs from April to June. Asparagus are both healthy and beneficial to the digestion. Always remember to choose them for their firm stalk, tight tips and vivid color. The thicker the stalk, the older the plant, so thinner asparagus are generally younger and more tender. Look for pencil-thin spears for the grill or broiler as the greater surface area of the thinner spears means that much more area to caramelize.
Here’s a simple way to enjoy broiled aparagus:
1 1/2 pounds thin asparagus,
2-3 ounces of dry-aged cheese,
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil,
1 tbs lemon juice,
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
A splash of white truffle oil
2 large shallots minced fine,
Salt & pepper to taste
Trim the asparagus and cut-off the woody bottoms. Cut the stalks in thirds to create approximately four inch pieces. Put the asparagus in a large bowl and add olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, minced shallot and balsamic vinegar. Toss the asparagus pieces to coat them thoroughly. Lay the asparagus pieces out in a shallow baking dish and set the dish about nine inches beneath the broiler flame.
Watch carefully while broiling, and after just a couple of minute of light browning, remove the asparagus to the bowl again, to re-toss with just a splash more olive oil. Slide them back beneath the flame for minute or so until the skins begin to lightly caramelize. Remove the asparagus and again quickly toss them in the bowl, this time adding first the splash of truffle oil and then coating them in the cheese.
Rearrange the spears in a final artful fashion onto the baking dish and broil one last minute or so until the cheese begins to brown lightly but does not burn. Serve immediately.