Asparagus could be the mascot for spring as far as I am concerned. It is one vegetable upon which my whole family agrees—we love it and could eat it every day—especially at the height of its season in the spring. Here is one of my favorite ways to prepare asparagus—light flavors that dress it up, but don’t hide the fresh flavor.
2 pounds fresh asparagus
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Fresh ground pepper
Snap the ends of the asparagus and using a vegetable peeler, pare the bottom 2 to 3 inches of each spear. In a large skillet place an inch or so of water (enough to just cover the asparagus) and bring to a simmer. Put the asparagus in the simmering water and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, until just tender. Transfer the asparagus quickly from the skillet to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking (and this will also keep the nice green color). Once it is cool, drain thoroughly and dry on paper towels.
Lightly butter a serving dish. Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter and add the lemon juice to the butter. Arrange the asparagus in the serving dish and drizzle the butter over. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan over, and top with a few grinds of fresh ground pepper, a pinch of salt and a light dust of paprika.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 10 minutes before serving, warm the asparagus in the oven until the cheese melts and it is warm.