This is an incredible way to enjoy asparagus. The walnut crema will keep well covered in the fridge for a few days, and is nice with pasta when asparagus isn't in season anymore.
|1 1⁄2 c||walnuts (raw)|
|2⁄3 c||olive oil|
|1||red onion (small, diced, about 1 cup)|
|3 bn||asparagus (tough ends snapped off, rinsed and dried well)|
|3⁄4 c||Pecorino Romano (shaved, or more to taste)|
|1||lemon (cut into 6 wedges)|
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the walnuts and blanch for 10 minutes, until tender and soft. Drain the walnuts and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Set aside.
In a small sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the red onion and a generous pinch of salt. Sweat for 7 minutes, until golden brown and tender. Remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 500˚F.
In a food processor, combine the walnuts, reserved cooking liquid, and onion. Process until creamy. Taste and add a decent pinch of salt if needed. With the motor running, slowly add 1/2 cup of the olive oil, processing until blended. The crema should have the consistency of creamy hummus. If it's too thick, add some water, a tablespoon at a time. Taste again for seasoning, adjust if needed, and transfer to a bowl. Cover and set aside while preparing the asparagus.
Drizzle two baking sheets with olive oil. Spread the asparagus in a single layer on the baking sheets. Roll them in the oil to coat evenly. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 8 minutes, shaking the pans a couple of times, until slightly charred, blistered, and tender.
To serve, spoon the crema across the surface of a serving platter. Arrange the asparagus spears on top. Sprinkle with Pecorino, drizzle with some olive oil, and serve immediately, with the lemon wedges.