I lived across the street from Otto, Mario Batali’s pizza restaurant, for two years–and yet I somehow managed never to eat this delicious asparagus dish there or even realize that such a thing was on the menu.  But unlike Otto’s outstanding pizzas and gelati, this asparagus salad is easy to replicate at home.  It is, unfortunately, not terribly seasonal right now, but asparagus was nevertheless on sale at the grocery store.  And now that I’ve sampled how tasty this is, I will look forward to putting it in regular rotation come springtime.

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Taken with my phone's camera. Oh, camera batteries, why do you plague me so?

I’d also like to propose a theory: take cooked vegetable, add olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan, and salt and pepper, and it will be delicious.  I can now confirm that it works for spinach, chickpeas, and asparagus. I bet it would also work with mushrooms, eggplant, and brussels sprouts, although maybe not, say, celery.

Asparagus with parmesan
Adapted from The Kitchn

1 bunch asparagus (ideally thin spears)
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 oz parmesan cheese, chopped into little pieces (I suppose you could also grate the  parmesan, but the crunchy pops of the parmesan pieces are wonderful with the asparagus)
salt and pepper

Trim woody ends of asparagus and place in bowl.  Pour boiling water in bowl and let sit for one minute, or longer if asparagus spears are thicker. (The idea is to get them just past raw, not to fully cook them. They should still be bright green and crunchy.)  Drain asparagus and rinse thoroughly in cold water until asparagus are cool.  Cut spears into small pieces, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long.

Mix asparagus pieces with diced cheese bits and toss in olive oil and lemon juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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