Lake Isle Press

Asparagus with Tomato-Olive Garnish

Asparagus, seasoned simply with olive oil, salt, and perhaps a squeeze of lemon juice, is a natural companion for almost any seafood dish. This variation is for occasions—or moods—that call for an extra flourish.

Asparagus with Tomato-Olive Garnish


  • 1 small tomato, peeled, seeded, and diced, or 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 4 Mediterranean olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons crumbled ricotta salata or feta cheese
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
  • Sea salt or kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)


1. Combine the tomato, olives, and cheese in a small bowl. Toss with a little olive oil.

2. Simmer the asparagus in salted boiling water until barely tender (alternatively, steam the asparagus); drain. Arrange the spears on a serving platter, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with salt and, if desired, pepper. Spoon the tomato-olive garnish across the center of the asparagus. Serve at room temperature.

Peeling the bottom half of asparagus stems is optional, but adds a note of elegance that seems fitting for this dish. It’s especially nice with thick asparagus spears.

Asparagus with Mushroom-Cheese Garnish: Trim and chop 4 white or crimini mushrooms (about 1 cup). Sauté the mushrooms and 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft; season lightly with salt. Off heat, stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons crumbled ricotta salata or feta cheese. Prepare the asparagus as described in the recipe, substituting the mushroom-cheese garnish. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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