This savory-sweet-salty take on spring's first asparagus is couched in classic Spanish influences and absolutely glows with gorgeous color. In the summer, try it with fresh green beans and grilled tuna!
For the asparagus and grilled garlic bread
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
24 asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed
12 slices rustic bread, such as Ciabatta
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Mango-Olive-Caper Mixture
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
1 fresh mango, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 lemon, cut in half
Salt and pepper, to taste
To make the asparagus and grilled garlic bread
Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill to high. Combine the olive oil and garlic in a small bowl and let sit while the grill heats. Toss the asparagus in enough of the seasoned olive oil to coat it lightly. Brush both sides of the bread slices with the olive oil as well.
Cook the asparagus and the bread slices, turning once or twice, for a scant 2 to 3 minutes or until grill marks show. The asparagus should be deep emerald in color but still tender-crisp and the bread a light golden. Remove the spears to a platter, and the bread slices to a separate plate.
To finish the dish
Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat and add the oil. Stir-fry the garlic, thyme, capers, olives and red bell pepper for 30 seconds. Toss in the basil and asparagus and cook to heat the asparagus through, about 1 minute. Fold in the mango slices, squeeze the lemon over all the ingredients and season with the salt and pepper.
Place two grilled bread slices on each of six individual plates, and criss-cross four asparagus spears on top. Spoon the mango-olive-caper mixture over the asparagus and bread, and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.