To prepare asparagus: Take each bunch and remove rubber bands. Line up the tips and trim the tough ends. Replace one rubber band around each bunch.
Boil a pot of water big enough to hold asparagus (1 6qt pot 2/3 full is a good start.) Add enough salt to make the water taste salty “like the sea.”
Drop asparagus in 2 to 3 bunches at a time, and boil uncovered for 2 minutes. If water takes a long time to come back to a boil, you can leave the asparagus in the water an extra 30 seconds, but not much longer than that.
Remove asparagus in bunches using tongs, and let drain over the pot. Drop into a bowl of ice water for 1 minute to stop the cooking (not more than 2 or 3 minutes total or asparagus will get waterlogged.) Remove asparagus and let drain.
Asparagus hors d’oeuvre with olive tapenade dip
Serves 8 to 12
2 lb asparagus, prepared as described above.
1.25 cup olive tapenade dip
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup olive tapenade
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Seared asparagus salad with crisp oyster mushrooms, shaved parmesan, and red wine shallot vinaigrette
Serves 8 as a first course or as part of a buffet
2 lb asparagus, prepared as above
½ lb oyster mushrooms
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup extra virigin olive oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped
Kosher salt and pepper
3 oz of Parmiggiano Reggiano, shaved with a peeler
Asparagus and shaved fennel salad in a lemon dill vinaigrette with smoked salmon
Serves 8 as part of a buffet or 4 as a first course
2 lb asparagus, prepared as above, cut into 1” batons
¾ lb fennel bulbs, trimmed and shaved on a mandolin
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup olive oil, or to taste
1/8 bunch fresh dill, washed and chopped
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
12 oz sliced smoked salmon
Combine asparagus, shaved fennel, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, fresh juice, Kosher salt and pepper (to taste)
Plate up on salad plates (or one big buffet platter) and top with sliced smoked salmon