Sometimes the most simple preparation is the most rewarding. I feel this is the case with asparagus dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette. And when there are so few ingredients, you want each ingredient to sing. This asparagus dish is where you want to use the best olive oil in your pantry (my favorite is Nicholas Alziari for vinaigrettes), a good balsamic, and only Parmigiano Reggiano -- no substitutions. A sprinkling of Fleur de Sel doesn't hurt, either.
Start with a bunch of fresh asparagus and trim the ends. In a large sauté pan, bring water to a boil and add the asparagus spears. Cook until done, about 3 minutes (It all depends on the size of the asparagus. You still want some bite to them). Drain and immediately roll up spears into a kitchen towel. You can keep them wrapped like this at room temperature until you are ready to proceed with the recipe. I sometimes will make the asparagus early in the day and keep them wrapped, but refrigerated until ready to use. Mix equal amounts of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic, about 3 tablespoons of each. Drizzle over the asparagus spears, sprinkle with salt and shave the Parmigiano Reggiano over the top. You will want to have some really good bread with this to soak up this wonderful vinaigrette. Enjoy Spring!