This is a Spanish take — Sherry vinegar and furls of Manchego cheese with olive or walnut oil. If you'd like, you could warm smoky Spanish paprika in the oil for a kick.
Cook to Cook: Because asparagus overcook in a blink, I like to cook them spread out in a skillet of boiling water. This way I can pierce a stalk to see if it's tender crisp and get the stalks out of the water fast. Always slightly undercook asparagus because once they are drained (and even rinsed in cold water), they will continue cooking.
The recipe also explains how to handle a bundle of stalks that vary in size.
2. Slip in the thickest stalks. Boil, uncovered, for 1 minute and add the medium thick ones. Cook another 30 seconds or so, and add the thin stalks. Cook a minute or so, or until a knife slipped into the thickest stalks meets some resistance. With tongs, lift the asparagus into the ice water. Give them several minutes to stop cooking.
3. Spread the drained asparagus on a platter. Sprinkle with the olive oil, then salt and pepper, and the vinegar. Finally, use a vegetable peeler to shave the cheese over the stalks. Serve them at room temperature.
Andrea Reusing is the creator of the restaurant Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C., and author of the book Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes. In this installment of The Key 3, she shares with Lynne Rossetto Kasper the techniques behind three of her favorite recipes: Turnip Soup, Overnight Braised Short Ribs and Tomato Salad.