White Asparagus with Brown Butter
3 lb White asparagus
2 qt Boiling water mixed with
4 ts Salt
1/2 c Unsalted butter
2/3 c Fine,soft white bread crumbs
1/2 ts Freshly ground black pepper
SNAP OFF THE WOODY ENDS of the asparagus and discard them or save them to make soup. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the asparagus spears. Lay them flat in a large skillet, pour in the boiling salted water, set the pan over moderate heat, cover it, and cook the asparagus for about 5 minutes, just until they are tender, but still crisp. Meanwhile, lightly brown the butter in a medium skillet over moderate heat. Add the bread crumbs and pepper and lightly toss them to mix. Reduce the heat under the skillet to low, to keep the crumbs warm. The instant the asparagus are done, drain them well, then return them to the skillet and shake them over moderate heat for 30 seconds or so to dry up any excess moisture. Transfer the asparagus to a small heated platter, then artfully arrange the crumb mixture on top.