Tag Archives: asparagus

Ham and Asparagus Toasts

Happy Easter! Just kidding – I made these last spring and then totally forgot about blogging. Even though asparagus is seasonal, you could still splurge on a little late-season veggies to make these fun little toasts that include the winning combination or Dijon mustard, ham, asparagus and fontina cheese.

I like to pull these toasts out when I attend a spring brunch or any kind of Easter-themed potluck. Grant and I also have had them by themselves as a nice lunch or light dinner, no matter the season.

My own spin on an old Rachael Ray recipe…

Ham and Asparagus Toasts

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of crusty bread of your choice (I always choose sourdough)
  • 1 lb. hamsteak (just buy thick-sliced cured ham that looks like it will be enough to fit on one slice of bread)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 c. fontina cheese, shredded
  • Dijon mustard
  • Cracked black pepper

Heat broiler and place oven rack in center position. Spread 1 T dijon (or less) on each slice of bread and place on baking sheet. Set aside.

Cut asparagus into 4-inch pieces and blanch in salted boiling water for 3-4 min, until tender but still firm in the middle. Shock in ice water. Set aside.

Heat medium skillet over medium-high heat and sear ham on both sides until you get a nice browning in spots. Five min. per side. Set aside.

To assemble, place 1 piece of ham on each slice of bread, then a few pieces of asparagus and finish with sprinkling of fontina cheese. Finish with a few cracks of black pepper, then slide into the oven.

Broil until the cheese is all bubbly on top, 5-7 min (watch them!).

The fontina cheese is really warm and nutty tasting, yummy with the peppery mustard, salty ham and sweet asparagus.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Asparagus, Melon and Mozzarella Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

Brunch with my girls – all gussied up in springtime dresses with light cardigans to protect against the breeze, new pedicures shining under out-from-hibernation sandals and plates of delicious fare to celebrate the season.

I’m lucky to have so many foodie friends who go all-out for a simple ladies’ brunch. Miss Valentine brought homemade orange-cranberry scones with English clotted cream and raspberry preserves…

Erika brought bacon-leek quiche, Lindsay brought tea cookies and Seton made brown-sugar bacon and poured spicy Bloody Marys and orange-mango mimosas.

What did I make, my friends? A fresh salad of roasted asparagus, sweet cantaloupe, fresh mozzarella, crispy proscuitto and toasted pine nuts. All tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. I adapted the recipe from Giada di Laurentiis, for your pleasure:

Asparagus, Melon and Mozzarella Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 small cantaloupe (about 12 ounces), peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss asparagus with salt, pepper and 2 T EVOO. Roast 7-8 min, until just tender but still with a bite. Set aside to cool and reduce oven to 350.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the prosciutto in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the melon and mozzarella cheese and toss until all ingredients are combined.

Arrange the asparagus on a platter. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the melon and mozzarella cheese on top of the asparagus. Drizzle any remaining vinaigrette over the top. Crumble the prosciutto over the top, then pine nuts.

Finally, serve to your lady friends!

This was a nice combination of flavors. A twist on the classic melon-prosciutto appetizer. I normally hate melon (because I’m a closeted picky eater), but this was so pretty, I couldn’t help but enjoy it.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

How to make cheap steak delicious

Like any frugal gal, I limit my meat purchases to discount bins and sale signs. I recently read an article in Cooks Illustrated about how to cook cheap steaks. I happened to have a couple top sirloin steaks that were on sale, a cut of meat that Cooks Illustrated recommended. Each steak was 12 oz. and about $3.

I cooked it simply, according to their directions, and it was delicious. Even my ribeye-loving bf raved about it! Except he said it tasted kind of like a hamburger…not sure how to take that.

Heat 1 T canola oil in a skillet until smoking. Season steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. Sear until well browned, 4-5 min. Flip and sear the other side, 2-3 min. Remove to a plate and tent with foil.

In the still-hot pan, add 1 chopped shallot and stir for 2 min. Add 1/4 c. red wine (or whatever you’re drinking) and scrape up the browned bits. Add another 1 c. of chicken stock or beef stock and stir until bubbling. Reduce and simmer until reduced, about 10 min. Season to taste and sprinkle in chopped parsley. Spoon over the steak..

Meanwhile, I made these amazing roasted baby potatoes!

Write Gals’ Perfect Potatoes

  • 2 pounds baby Yukon gold potatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 400. Toss potatoes with a drizzle of oil, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Spread on sheet pan and place in oven.

Roast until potatoes are cooked through and browned, stirring occasionally, about 20-30 min. Cooking times may vary.

Yukon gold potatoes are simply the best, and roasting them really brings out their flavor. When I took them out of the oven, I tossed in one bunch of baby asparagus, smearing the existing oil and seasonings all over them. Then I roasted them 6-8 minutes, until just tender.

And that, my friends, was a wonderful and affordable meal! Enjoy, friends! xoxo