Asparagus with Capers and Pine Nuts
Time: Prep time – 3 to 5 minutes, Cooking time – 7 to 10 minutes.
- ¼ cup (1.5 oz) pine nuts
- 1 ½ lbs (750 g) asparagus, preferably small to medium-sized spears, 6-7 in long
- 6 tblsp (3oz) unsalted butter
- 1 tblsp fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup (2 oz) drained capers
- freshly ground pepper
- ¼ lb (125 g) piece Italian Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano
In a heavy frying pan over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, stirring, until lightly colored and fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside
Break or cut off any tough white ends of the asparagus spears and discard. Cut all the spears the same length. If medium-sized or larger, peel the asparagus spears as well; using a vegetable peeler or an asparagus peeler and starting about 2 inches below the tip, peel off the outer skin from each spear.
In a large sauté pan or deep frying pan that will accommodate the asparagus comfortably lying flat, add water to a depth of 2-3 inches. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat.
Add 2 teaspoons salt and the asparagus.
When the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat slightly and boil gently, uncovered, until tender when pierced with a sharp knife, 4-7 minutes, depending upon their size.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-low hear, melt the butter. Add the lemon juice and capers, season to taste with pepper and cook, stirring gently, for 30 – 40 seconds. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed.
When the asparagus spears are done, drain well and place on a serving platter or individual plates.
Spoon the caper sauce over them and then scatter on the pine nuts. Using a vegetable peeler and holding the piece of Parmesan over the asparagus, shave off paper-thin slices; be generous with the cheese.
Serve at once.