From Jacques Pepin's Fast Food My Way (with a few edits). Perhaps not well known to younger cooks, but everything in this book turns out great!
We try to eat local and seasonal, so when asparagus hits the market, this is the first thing we make and eat until we tire of it. Prep ingredients. This is made just before serving. It is still edible later, but the asparagus starts to shrivel and it is not as "pretty". Serves 4 as a side or main. This kind of dish also goes well with a nice runny, over-easy egg.
1 lb (large, thick?) firm asparagus - see Tips
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 cup 3/4" pieces dried sausage (about 4 ounces)
1 1/2 cups 1/4" bread cubes (croutons)
1/4 cup whole almonds with skins
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Cut each asparagus stalk into three or four pieces.
At serving time heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until very hot. For crispy croutons, add the bread first and stir and toss for a few minutes. Then add the asparagus, sausage, and almonds. Sauté, covered, for 5 minutes, tossing a stirring the mixture a few times so it browns and cooks all over. Add the salt and pepper, toss again and serve on warmed plates.
Notes and Tips...
- Asparagus - remove the tough ends, and peel the bottom half of stalks with a vegetable peeler if they are not tender. Chefs claim that medium thick stalks are much better than those that are too thin or too think - think "Goldilocks".
- Oil - use the best, tastiest olive oil you have
- Sausage - he suggests chorizo, but we like Hungarian sausage called csabai or farmer-style
- Croutons - preferably from a baguette, sour dough or country loaf; do not use ready made croutons
- Almonds - I prefer to use roasted (unsalted)