Asparagus ‘Pasta’ with Garlicky Bread Crumbs

Asparagus ‘Pasta’ with Garlicky Bread Crumbs

1 piece whole-grain bread (1.5 ounces)

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 bunches thick asparagus spears (about 1.5 pounds total)

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

Tear the bread (including the crust) into pieces, letting them fall into a food processor. Pulse to form fine crumbs. Transfer to a medium skillet, along with the garlic and ½ tablespoon of the oil. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the crumbs are browned and crisped a bit. Season with half of the salt; remove from the heat.

Cut off and reserve the asparagus tips. Hold an asparagus stem by its woody end; resting the stalk on top of a cutting board, use a vegetable peeler to peel the tender part of the stalk into long, thin strips. Discard the woody stem. Repeat with each asparagus stalk.

Heat the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the shaved asparagus and the tips; cook, stirring gently, until slightly wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and the remaining salt and the pepper.

Sprinkle with the crisped bread crumbs and the parsley; toss, and serve right away.

Serves 4.