• 1 bunch thick asparagus, of any color
• Olive oil
• 60 g / 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
• 60 g / 1/2 cup grated buffalo mozzarella
• A few fresh bread crumbs, or chopped hazelnuts
• Freshly ground pepper
• Sea salt
Púcas are very greedy spirits with refined taste. Balthus is almost as excited excite as I am when it’s asparagus season, as it is now. The famous white and Provençal violet colors are in the Cannes Forville Market as well as the lowly green asparagus. I love them all! Celebrating them during their short sea-son of glory is one of my best pleasures. Humans always talk about how asparagus makes their pee smell funny. I asked Balthus about this. It’s the same for Púcas, with an exception: when they eat asparagus, it makes their Púca-pee smell like orange flowers.
I will take his word for it.
Here’s an easy way to vary your personal Asparagus Experience.
The important step in this is to peel the asparagus. It’s a pain, but you can use more of the length this way and avoid the annoyingly tough fibers. Cut all the spears to the same length. If you are an asparagus maniac like I am, you can hoard all the cut-off ends until you have enough to make soup!
Blanch the spears in boiling water just until they surrender their rigidity. This depends on the thickness and age. Pick one up by the stem end and see if the upper part slouches. Refresh in ice water and pat dry.
Lightly oil a gratin dish and arrange the spears in single-file on it. Sprinkle with the cheeses, and the bread crumbs or hazelnuts. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top and grind over some fresh pepper and sprinkle with salt.
Bake about 20 cm / 8 inches under a hot broiler until the cheese melts, browns and sizzles.