Is this a recipe? I don't know. But it's what we're eating. It's what we ate alongside whole wood-fired black sea bass and duck confit at Fore Street when we celebrated Anna's graduation from nurse practitioner school Friday night (!), and it's what we made with spears from our own garden when we got home sun-tired and hungry late yesterday. It's everything asparagus should be: tender, fresh, bursting with flavor.
The waitress at Fore Street said they top their spears with ribbons of a New England Capriano, and after a lot of googling I've determined it must be the Capriano from York Hill Farm in New Sharon, Maine. It's an aged goats milk cheese with a firm texture and sharp, salty notes with just a hint of sweetness. It's won a lot of awards, and my lucky mother can buy it at her farmers' market in the summer.
I couldn't find it when we stopped at the grocery store on the way home, but we had a chunk of Piave sitting in our cheese drawer in the fridge, and that did the trick. (A quick side note on grocery stores: Whole Foods opens in Hyannis this Wednesday, and has reached out to a lot of local producers.) Whatever cheese you use, look for something sharp and salty, firm and somewhere in the genre of Parmesan.
And if you're thinking of planting your own asparagus patch, do it! There was a time when I never thought we'd be able to pick our asparagus. You have to wait three years once you plant it, and in 2009 that seemed like a long time. But here I am now with a two and a half year old and asparagus in droves.
You don't really need measurements here. Just very fresh asparagus, olive oil, salt, and a warm oven. Happy spring!
roughly 1 bunch fresh asparagus
olive oil, for drizzling
sea salt, to taste
a chunk of firm cheese, for shaving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the asparagus spears on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil. Season with sea salt to taste. Roast the spears for 10-15 minutes, until just tender. Shave cheese to taste over top, and serve warm. If you have any leftovers, they are just as good chilled the next day.