The Mighty Asparagus!

Even though the weather here hasn’t been so great I know it’s really spring because asparagus is everywhere, I can’t get enough of the stuff and I’m always looking for new ways to make it, so today I’m giving you two recipes that I’ve recently been addicted to. The one above is the perfect appetizer or side dish, I actually brought this to our Easter brunch. Think prosciutto smeared with goat cheese then place a basil leaf, asparagus, roasted red pepper, shredded carrots and a quick drizzle of balsamic glaze, now roll it up! Oh my, the flavors are amazing, it’s sort of like an Italian Style Sushi!
Inspired by Food Jimoto

You can roast or grill your asparagus, I roasted mine, tossed it in olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400F until al dente.

Here’s the ingredients you’ll need, some of which can be used for the next recipe as well. Prosciutto, goat cheese, shredded carrots, fresh basil, roasted red pepper strips,(not seen here, they were roasting in the oven when I took the photo) and balsamic glaze, the glaze is a key ingredient, it’s thick and so flavorful and it stays inside the roll very nicely. You can make your own glaze by reducing down some balsamic vinegar or you can buy some, I got mine at Whole Foods, you can drink the stuff it’s so good! (not really, but I love it!) I always keep a bottle in my fridge, I use it all the time, just a little goes a very long way.

I tried cutting the prosciutto lengthwise at first but I didn’t like the way it held the asparagus in, it wasn’t tight enough within the roll so I cut it in half as you see above and that worked out perfect. If you don’t like goat cheese, maybe some mascarpone? or even cream cheese. You can use 1 or 2 asparagus depending on their size and your preference.
I used one large red pepper cut into small strips and roasted them, That one pepper was enough for a huge pan that I made.

A quick drizzle of olive oil on the tips and they were all ready to go, place them on a beautiful platter and people will be drawn to them, I promise.

Put your balsamic glaze in a squeezy bottle and you can get all fancy with it, swirrels, drops, zig zags, you’ll look like a professional!

Now on to recipe number two, this is so good you’ll want to make this salad over and over again! Take some of that prosciutto you have and crisp it up in your oven, these are going to be prosciutto chips that will garnish and be added to the salad for crunchy and oh so flavorful goodness! Place 4 – 6 slices on a piece of parchment keeping them flat by weighing them down with another baking sheet on top, Cook until crisp at 400F for around 10 -15 minutes, keep checking it.

This Asparagus Salad was inspired by a chef at a farmers market, the components are:

** 1 Pound of grilled or roasted asparagus halved lengthwise

** A spicy green like arugula or frisee ( I couldn’t find either that day, so I used a mix that had both)

** 2 radish that are thinly sliced

** 4 oz. of Chevre goats cheese

** 3 Tablespoons of toasted and chopped hazelnuts

** Salt and pepper

Lemon Vinaigrette:

** 2 Tbl fresh lemon juice

** 6 Tbl good olive oil

** Salt and pepper

** Prosciutto chips
In a bowl add your Chevre cheese, 1 Tbl of the vinaigrette and toss gently all your asparagus until well coated. Add your greens and hazelnuts, radishes and more vinaigrette to taste, toss it all gently until coated. Garnish with the prosciutto chips on top. This should serve 4 or 2 very happy people!

Enjoy and Buon Appetito!