I was a very lucky guest at a knock-you-down-scrumptious dinner party last weekend. Good food was contributed and enjoyed by all, along with a certain amount of liquid refreshment. I had a great time, and I also enjoyed making an appetizer. All the parts are so pretty, and the result is so tasty - I can't be selfish. Here's how you do it.
Roasted Asparagus Crostini
2 bunches of pencil thin asparagus
3 cloves of garlic
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
2 dozen crostini, or 1 large baguette, sliced
cheese for garnish
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash the asparagus, remove the tough ends, and snap them into thirds (about 2" lengths). Crush the garlic and toss with the asparagus, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on baking sheets and roast for 6-8 minutes (I usually do this in two batches, but if your oven is large they can all go in at once). Take the sheets out and toss the asparagus to turn them. Roast for another 3-4 minutes, until the asparagus is bright green and tender, and the tips are a little bit brown (which gives them that magical nutty flavor, and a tiny bit of crunch). Toss the roasted asparagus in a large bowl with the lemon juice and toasted almonds.
If you're using a fresh baguette, toast (or if you're really ambitious, grill) the slices before arranging them in a single layer on a serving dish or cutting board. Pour off a little bit of the juice from the bowl of asparagus, and brush it onto the crostini. Then layer small bunches of asparagus onto each slice, and garnish with a curl of your favorite cheese (I used Cypress Grove Midnight Moon, because it's the cheese of the gods. True story.)
Crunchy, nutty, and green. Delicious.