Now's the time of year when I eat asparagus once or twice a week. To change things up from the usual, I dressed it with a modified gremolata—typically a mixture of citrus zest, minced garlic, herbs, and spices. This version takes advantage of long pepper's sweet pungency, fleshed out by coriander, enlivened by lemon. It's a simple—and a favorite—way to enjoy long pepper. And asparagus, for that matter.
Since the spices aren't cooked at all, they are best toasted before grinding to bring out their flavors.
- 1 bunch (1 pound) asparagus
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons long pepper, toasted and freshly ground
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander, toasted and freshly ground
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Zest of one lemon
Turn on broiler and adjust rack to 4 to 6 inches from heat source. Trim bottom two inches off asparagus, rub with oil, and season well with salt. Arrange in a single layer in an oven-safe skillet or baking sheet.
Broil for two to three minutes, then check on asparagus for signs of light charring and a bright green color. Very thin spears may be finished at this point. Squeeze gently with tongs. If still very firm, return to broiler for another two to three minutes, or until spears bend slightly but break with a snap.
Combine long pepper, coriander, garlic, and lemon zest in a small bowl and mix to combine. Toss with asparagus and serve immediately.