Our approach to vegetables is typically not to combine them, but rather let them all play a starring role, with techniques, seasonings, and flourishes that highlight or complement their flavors and textures. You can certainly roast or grill the asparagus here, but because the almonds, Roncal, and mustard are all assertive flavors, we usually opt for the milder results from blanching the asparagus.
1 pound asparagus
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon aged sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 ounces Roncal or Manchego cheese, grated
2 tablespoons Marcona almonds, chopped
Trim the woody ends of the asparagus stalks by gripping them, one at a time, with one hand at the very bottom of the stalk and one in the middle. Bend until the end snaps off, letting it break where it will naturally. It’s usually about one-fourth of the way up the stalk. If the asparagus are very thick, you can peel off the outer skins with a vegetable peeler to tenderize them.
Fill a pot large enough to hold the asparagus either vertically or horizontally three-fourths full of water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Salt the water heavily; it should taste of the sea.
Next, add the asparagus to the seasoned, simmering water and, depending on the thickness of the stalks, simmer for 1 to 3 minutes. The best way to tell if they are done is to taste-test one. They should still have some snap to them and remain bright green.
Drain the asparagus. Pat the stalks dry and transfer to a platter large enough to spread the asparagus in a single layer.
In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and mustard. Don't worry about slowly adding the oil, there's no need to emulsify this vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.
To finish, spoon the vinaigrette over the plated asparagus and top with the almonds and grated cheese. Serve immediately.
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