This is, hands down, my favorite asparagus recipe. I love the tender stalks after they’ve been peeled and blanched, and the crunchy hazelnut dressing adds a nice contrast in texture. Serve this dish as a side at brunch, lunch or dinner. It’s great when served with roasted or grilled meat. You can make the asparagus a few hours ahead, along with the vinaigrette – just store them separately until ready to serve.
Asparagus with Hazelnut Dressing
1 medium shallot, minced
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. agave nectar or honey
1/3 C. olive oil
½ C. skinned hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and stalks peeled
1. Fill a bowl with ice and cold water to make a water bath. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. While waiting for water to boil, trim asparagus spears to where they snap when bent. Place trimmed asparagus in boiling water for 1 minute, or until bright green and slightly tender. Immediately plunge asparagus into water bath to stop cooking. Once cooled, remove asparagus and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together shallot, vinegar, mustard, agave and oil. Stir in hazelnuts. Drizzle dressing over asparagus. Serve at room temperature.