Makes:8 to 10 servings
Grilled asparagus is especially delicious when the tips get toasty and charred but the spears retain a crisp snap. Chopped into bite-size pieces and mixed with toasted pine nuts and salty pecorino cheese, it makes an excellent topping for bruschetta.
8 ounces crusty Italian bread, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoonsolive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium garlic clove
For the topping:
1 poundasparagus, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoonolive oil
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/8 teaspoonkosher salt, plus more for seasoning the asparagus
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning the asparagus
20 thinly shaved stripsPecorino Romano cheese (about 1 ounce)
For the bread:
Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high (about 375°F to 425°F).
Meanwhile, arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Using 1 tablespoon of the oil, very lightly brush the tops of the bread with the oil. Flip the slices over and brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Generously season one side only with salt and pepper.
Place the bread on the grill (reserve the baking sheet) and cook until grill marks appear and the bread is toasted and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Return the grilled bread to the reserved baking sheet seasoned-side up and rub the seasoned sides with the garlic clove. Set aside while you prepare the topping.
For the topping:
Place the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
With the grill still at medium heat, place the asparagus on it and cook, turning occasionally, until the spears are crisp-tender and grill marks have appeared, about 4 minutes.
Remove the asparagus to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1-inch pieces and place in a medium bowl. Add the pine nuts, measured salt and pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Toss until evenly combined.
To serve, divide the asparagus mixture evenly among the bread pieces and top with the cheese slices. Cut the bruschetta into pieces if desired and serve.