Chef Vitaly Paley
(Serves 4 to 6)

When asparagus is in season, this recipe is a sure winner. If the grill is going, give the
asparagus the taste of summer and serve them family style on a big platter.

1 bunch asparagus, about 1 pound
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ounces hot smoked salmon, preferably from belly or collar of the fish, coarsely shredded
Finely grated zest of one lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus large dill fronds for garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Sea salt

Align the asparagus stalks from the tips. Cut off and discard the woody fibrous ends so the trimmed stalks are all the same length.

In a small mixing bowl combine butter, salmon, lemon zest, lemon juice, and chopped dill. Using a fork, blend it all together. Season with salt and pepper, set aside and hold at room temperature.

Fill a large skillet 2 inches deep with water, bring to a boil, and season with salt until you can taste it. Add asparagus and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and dry. Before they cool, transfer the asparagus to a serving platter and season with sea salt. Spoon out the butter in small pieces, scatter atop the asparagus and serve. Garnish with dill fronds. If grilling, preheat the grill according to manufacturer’s instructions. Brush the blanched spears with a bit of olive oil and then place them on the grill. Roll them across the grate to give them grill marks and heat them through, about 3 minutes.

Transfer to a platter, top with butter, season with sea salt and serve garnished with dill fronds.