Saturday, July 18, 2009

Asparagus by Request

The Best Rendition of Asparagus I've had in a while!

This is not my recipe. I had this lovely dish on Father's Day at Susan's home. Our son-in-law, Chuck's, beautiful daughter Christy, is a true Italian, and cooks like one! This is just one of her great dishes.

She was kind enough to share this recipe with me. The recipe, as given by Christy, calls for steaming the asparagus prior to prep. But as you already know I prefer all my vegeatables GRILLED when possible. When not possible to grill, let's oven roast them. I'd say a secret to success in this recipe is to not overcook them, however you choose to proceed is up to you!

This photo, and this recipe was prepared by yours truly, for the occasion of the previously documented Lobsterfest. My sister Terry requested this recipe, and so here it is.

Since this photo, I have served this dish other occasions and have put cherry tomatoes around the edge of the platter for an even more festive touch!! I put the cherry tomatoes in a plastic bag with just a touch of olive oil to let them get coated first, then put around the tray. I wanted to save the dressing of this recipe for the asparagus, but didn't want the tomatoes to be dry!

Quantities are also tricky in this recipe. It's all 'eyeballing.' We agreed really big asparagus would not be good. Christy had 4 medium to slim asparagus in each bundle so that is how I did it.

To feed a crowd I purchased three bunches of fresh asparagus, medium toward thinish.
One log of goat cheese, the larger size. I did not quite use all of it, about 3/4 for the two bunches.
Fresh chives. (I had them in my herb garden - thanks again, Marge) If you don't have them on hand, it's almost not worth buying a bunch for, you use such a tiny amount. How about a sprinkling of dried onion flakes?
1 lb of the best Proscuitto Ham available, no substitutes, sliced thinly. I trimmed any excess fat as I went, though from the photo it doesn't look like it.
Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar (Christy uses Red Wine vinegar, you choose)
Pepper (fresh ground, always)

Process is simple:
Snap off any tough ends of asparagus and prepare according to your choice, as discussed above. Do not overcook. Allow to cool. I use a small amount of olive oil on them in cooking on the grill. No other seasoning is needed. (Proscuitto and the dressing we make will take care of that)

Mix some chives and some pepper into the slightly softened goat cheese and dab a small amount onto your four, cooled, asparagus which you have laid adjacent to one another like a raft. Lay that dab about mid raft. (Dab=approx 1/2 teaspoon size?)

Take your proscuitto* and carefully wrap your asparagus at the level of the goat cheese all the way around so it is completely covered and wrapped thoroughly. There is NO NEED to secure the proscuitto with a pick or anything. It will adhere to itself, just wrap it securely and tuck in any stray ends. Be sure no cheese is extruding.

If my asparagus are not the same length I trim them with a sharp paring knife at this point to make them look uniform, then lay in serving tray or storage container and move on to next until all asparagus, goat, and ham are used up!!

*A note about the proscuitto, if you haven't worked with it before. Usually the slices are oblong with a thin line of fat running horizonitally across the center. I pull that little piece of fat out and I let that spot be my dividing line, to cut each slice in half. So I have two long slices from each slice of ham. These are perfect size for wrapping around the asparagus rafts.

The only thing left is the dressing. I wait to put the dressing on until right before serving. By the way, serve the asparagus at room temperature. If you've made it ahead of time, pull out of frig at least an hour prior.

The dressing is equal parts vinegar (red wine or balsamic) and good olive oil with a grind of fresh pepper, mixed together, prior to drizzling over the asparagus. I have one of those nifty Pampered Chef salad dresssing mixer containers, but a good old whisk will do the job. Even for a fairly large number of asparagus bundles you probably only need about a half cup, in total, of dressing. A little goes a long way, as they say!

Here's the info on my nifty Pampered Chef thingy:
Kitchenware: Measure, Mix, & Pour™
#2265 $11.50
Helps you quickly prepare homemade salad dressings and beverages. Four salad dressing recipes printed on container

Enjoy! Wrap up and save leftovers! This stuff is even good for breakfast... chop them up and put them in some eggs... seriously.

Bon Appetite!


Terry said...

Thanks for the recipe, Betsy!! Delicious!

Betsy5 said...

You're welcome!!

Marge said...

Betsy those asparagus look great. I love prosciutto too! Wish my husband did. Could be made into a great party appetizer!

Betsy5 said...

Definitely a great party app! These are getting great reviews.. Maybe we could convince Al prosciutto isn't really ham!? HA!