Asparagus with focaccia and Parmesan

Serves 4

Asparagus as a snack? It's not just for dipping into Hollandaise and creating fancy starters. When the season is so short, it's good to think of all sorts of ways of eating it and as many occasions as you can. This is a kind of bruschetta or crostini and can also be miniaturised into drinks canapés.

300-350g asparagus, woody ends trimmed
A good knob of butter
4 slices of focaccia bread about 8cm x 6cm, or from a ciabatta or similar
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3-4tbsp olive oil
100g piece of Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the asparagus, drain and cut the thicker ends down to about the length of the bread. Coarsely blend the trimmings into a rough purée then reheat in a pan with the butter and season.

Mix the garlic with a tablespoon or so of the olive oil and brush on to the bread. Toast on both sides then spread the purée on to the bread and lay the asparagus on top (hot or just warm). With a peeler or sharp knife cut the Parmesan into thin shavings and scatter over the asparagus, and drizzle with olive oil.

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