In Hadley, Massachusetts, asparagus is the prized local crop; we got this recipe from the Barstow family, longtime Hadley residents and asparagus aficionados. The vegetable is blanched until crisp-tender, enriched with a splash of cream, and served on rye toast.
- 4 slices crusty rye bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 tsp. celery salt, plus more to taste
- 3⁄4 cup light cream
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a toaster or dry cast-iron skillet, lightly toast the bread on both sides. Spread the butter on both sides of each slice while still hot.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, then add the asparagus and celery salt. Cook until vibrant green and tender, 4–8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a medium, heat-resistant bowl. Add the cream, and season with pepper and more celery salt as needed. Place each slice of toast on an individual plate or shallow bowl and top with equal portions of the asparagus mixture. Serve warm.