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Broiled Asparagus with Pine Nuts

This easy side dish is so versatile, it doesn’t even have to be a side dish. My wife and I even had it for breakfast once. When selecting asparagus, aim for the thinnest spears, since they are the most tender.

15 asparagus spears
about 2 oz. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
pine nuts, about two oz.
olive oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Snap off bottom inch of each spear and discard (or compost). Using a potato peeler, peel off skin from the lower half of the spears. On a flat, broil-safe pan (I use a small pizza pan), place all tips in same direction in one layer. Pour a little olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt. Using tongs or your hands, mix spears until covered evenly with oil. Place pan in oven and bake for about 5 minutes.

Remove pan from oven. In a prep bowl, mix pine nuts with a touch of olive oil and salt. Adding the pine nuts to the pan late in the game allows the pine nuts to brown without burning. Spoon oiled pine nuts around the spears on the pan. Grate enough Parmesan cheese to cover the centers of the asparagus. Move pan to broiler and broil on high until the tips become slightly charred and the pine nuts have browned. This degree of broiling will give you spears that are a little soft but still have some crunch left in them.

Serves two.

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©2011 Darrin DuFord