Green Asparagus with Parmesan Shavings

Knife Pleat’s Tony Esnault creates seasonal poetry on a plate. Diligent sourcing yields treasures like the asparagus he finesses with his  knowing, graceful technique that teases out the essence of flavor.


Green Asparagus with Parmesan Shavings

For 6 as a starter course
Level: Easy 



– 36 green asparagus

– 2 oz coarse salt (for blanching)

– 3 tablespoons aged white balsamic*

– ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

– 1 shallot

– Pinch of pepper and salt

– 1 ½ oz Parmigiano-Reggiano

– Sea salt

– Coarse-ground black pepper

– Optional garnish: thinly shaved raw green asparagus



Clean the asparagus (from top to bottom) with a knife. Divide into 3 equal bundles and tie with kitchen twine. Bring a gallon of water to a boil in a large pot; once boiling, add the coarse salt. The water should taste like the sea. Place the asparagus bundles in the boiling water to cook. This should take between 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness—the asparagus should remain firm; check while cooking. Once done, stop the cooking process by placing asparagus in a cold ice bath which preserves a beautiful green color. No need to rinse. Strain and dry on a clean cloth.

Prepare the vinaigrette in a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Finely chop the shallot and add 3 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar, then the extra virgin olive oil. Whisk together; taste for seasoning.

Shave the Parmesan with a vegetable peeler or mandoline and season.

For the optional garnish, thinly shave raw green asparagus with either a vegetable peeler or mandoline; set aside.

Reheat the asparagus for a few seconds in boiling water. Strain and dry on a kitchen towel. Divide the asparagus among six flat plates, add the optional garnish and drizzle with the vinaigrette and Parmesan shavings. Add a light sprinkle of coarse-ground black pepper and finishing salt.


Chef’s Note:
Tony Esnault prefers the plumper Delta variety of asparagus when available as well as the freshest and organic choices in the local or farmers markets. White asparagus require different cooking techniques.


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