I don't know about you, but I'm still waiting for the good asparagus to start coming in. So far it hasn't been that great, but I admit I've been stuck buying in stores. Have the offerings been any better at the farmers markets?
In Skinny Legs, Like I Always Wanted, we reviewed the different asparagus seasons and handling techniques. Today we Food Party! with a wonderful recipe for the start of the grilling season, perfect for outdoor parties - Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus with Smoked Mozzarella and Spicy Tomato Relish. People enjoy making their own, which adds to the fun, and makes prep time a lot faster for you.
1) When removing the prosciutto from the paper dividers often found in packaging, DO NOT rip the meat from the paper. Place the meat down on a cutting board, than peel the paper away from the meat.
2) Wrap the prosciutto so that it covers the entire piece of cheese. It will serve as a barrier so the cheese doesn't melt out before the appetizer is grilled.
3) Want to go vegetarian? Replace the prosciutto with tofu skin.
4) You can serve as one whole piece on a platter, but I prefer cutting the spears and stacking on top of each other, served tapas style.
Go ahead, bite in. There's a surprise! Enjoy the unexpected combination of an Italian-style vegetable with the Indian-style chutney.
Ah America - the melting pot.
We get away with so much here.
Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus with Smoked Mozzarella and Spicy Tomato Relish
1 bunch asparagus, washed and bottom ¼ of stem removed
Smoked mozzarella, sliced into 2" batons, approx. the size of your asparagus
Prosciutto ? ½ - 1 piece per asparagus
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1.5 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¼ pounds ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded and cut into ¼ inch dice
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1-2 serrano chiles, minced
1 ½ - inch piece of ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon each: black or yellow mustard seeds & cumin seeds
½ teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
½ teaspoon each: cayenne pepper & ground turmeric
2 tablespoons olive oil
Put 1-2 mozzarella battons between two pieces of asparagus and wrap with 1 piece of prosciutto. Brush with oil.
In a nonreactive saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar and salt, stirring constantly just until dissolved. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, scallions and serranos.
Combine the ginger ? turmeric in a small bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil until almost smoking. Add the spice mix and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add the vinegar mixture. Add this to the tomatoes and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours ? up to 4 days.
Grill asparagus, watching to remove before the cheese melts out. Remove from grill, slice in 2-3 pieces. Place a small amount of relish on an individual plate and top with asparagus. It's a nice presentation to make a "tee pee" shape out of the asparagus, on top of the sauce.
©Laura Stec - Innovative Cuisine