Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way

Recipe: Asparagus with Croutons and Chorizo

"This recipe is inspired by Spanish ingredients and combines them in a quick and tasty way. Spanish chorizo or chouriço, the Portuguese version of this spicy sausage, works well in this recipe. you can also use one of the hotter domestic chorizo sausages--some of which are better than others--available at any supermarket. I prefer to make the croutons with chewy bread.

Depending on the size of the asparagus (I like fat, firm specimens), the cooking time may need to be adjusted by a minute or so. I like my asparagus a bit firm to the bite but not 'raw crunchy.'"

Serves: 4

• 1 pound large, thick, firm asparagus, tough ends removed and bottom half of stalks peeled with a vegetable peeler
• 1/4 cup good olive oil
• 1 cup 3/4-inch pieces chorizo sausages (about 4 ounces)
• 1 1/2 cups 3/4-inch bread cubes (croutons), preferably from a baguette or country bread loaf
• 1/4 cup whole almonds with skins
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cut each asparagus stalk into 3 or 4 pieces.

At serving time, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until very hot.

Add the asparagus, chorizo, bread, and almonds and sauté, covered, for 5 to 6 minutes, tossing or stirring the mixture a few times, so it browns and cooks all over.

Add the salt and pepper, toss again, and serve on four warmed plates.

Recipe courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Company, ©2004 Jacques Pépin from Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way.