I always knows it's spring when the asparagus starts showing up at the grocery store and the tag doesn't say "Chile". I have nothing against flying things in out-of-season, especially when you just have that craving, but it's always nicer when it comes from somewhere in the vicinity of your house. And when you're looking for a good way to take advantage of fresh vegetables, nothing really beats mounding them on top of some crusty bread. This is a pretty fantastic way to take advantage of all that asparagus at the market, but honestly, you could just mound the cooked asparagus in a bowl, shred the cheese on top, and serve it as a side dish if you're not super into bread.
Truffled Asparagus Crostini
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine, May 2006
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
12 (1-inch) slices French bread baguette
1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed and chopped into ½-inch pieces
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon truffle oil
½ cup (2 ounces) grated Manchego cheese
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toast bread slices until lightly browned. Add another tablespoon of butter, turn the bread slices, and toast the other side. Remove bread from the pan and set aside.
In the same skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add asparagus; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Season with salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Remove from heat and add truffle oil; toss well to coat.
Top each bread slice with 1 rounded tablespoon asparagus mixture; place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle cheese evenly over crostini. Broil 1 minute or until cheese melts. Serve warm.
Makes 6 servings