Asparagus with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese

I first created this dish to make asparagus more wine-friendly with the addition of cheese and nuts – now it’s become a staple reflecting southern French origins. If you can find some hazelnut oil, it’s worth the splurge as just a touch really brings the dish to life!

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 pound fresh asparagus
  • 4 teaspoons hazelnut , walnut or olive oil
  • Juice and grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Kosher salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup soft goat cheese

Directions

  1. Place the hazelnuts on an oven tray and scatter with half the thyme. Bake in a moderate oven for 5-7 minutes or until golden and aromatic. Transfer to a clean dish towel, rub off the skins and remove, then chop roughly.
  2. Snap the stalky bases off the asparagus spears and blanch in a large saucepan of rapidly boiling salted boiling water for 1-2 minutes, or until tender-crisp.
  3. Transfer to a bowl of ice water until cold, then dry on paper towels. If preferred, you can also grill the asparagus and serve as a hot salad.
  4. Whisk the oil and lemon juice together and season to taste. Place the asparagus in a bowl and toss with the dressing to coat.
  5. To serve, arrange asparagus on plates or platter and crumble over the goat cheese, extra thyme and lemon zest. Scatter with the hazelnuts.


Photography courtesy of the International Treenut Council www.nuthealth.com