MAKES 4 SERVINGS
⅓ cup hazelnuts
2 bunches asparagus (about 2 pounds), tough ends snapped off and discarded, then peeled (see note)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
4 cups loosely packed arugula
Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Put them in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes as it preheats, until aromatic and browned. Transfer to a plate or, if you’d like to remove the skins for a more refined texture and appearance, wrap them in a towel and give them a good rub. The majority of the skins will come right off. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts.
Put the asparagus on the same baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt. Toss gently to evenly coat the asparagus. Bake for 8 minutes, until just barely tender.
Put the lemon juice, the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl and mix well with a small whisk.
Put the arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing and toss until evenly coated. Mound the arugula on individual plates or a platter and arrange the asparagus on top. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and sprinkle the hazelnuts on top.
Variation: Substitute toasted pistachios or walnuts for the hazelnuts.
Cook’s Note: Peeling the asparagus gets rid of the stringy, sometimes tough outer layer and exposes the sweet flesh underneath. To peel it, use a regular vegetable peeler with a light touch to shave off just the skin. This technique is not necessary with thin asparagus spears.