Asparagus is available year-round (thank goodness), but spring is the best season for the freshest, with April being primetime, baby!
I just love it. Sometimes I’ll simply roast up a bundle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then eat the spears like you would licorice sticks. (Hey, finger food comes in many different forms at my house.) This time, however, I decided they needed a bed.
Doesn’t this lovely ‘lil half sandwich scream freshness and spring? It’s so light and delicious – especially if you make your own ricotta. Which, IMHO, is the only way to eat it. 20 minutes is all you need! If you don’t have time to prepare it the day of, make it the day before and just slightly warm it up in the microwave before using. Here, you’ll only need a 1/2 cup, which works out perfectly, because later this week I’ll give you a way to use up the rest of it.
And in the meantime, here are some of my other favorite ways to enjoy asparagus.
From top to bottom, left to right:
Creamy Asparagus Soup – thick, creamy, and tangy. The asparagus flavor is apparent, but not over-powering. This is like butter on your tongue.
Spring Vegetable Couscous with Chicken – layers of flavor from different veggies, seasoned chicken, and a hint of lemon. Easy and light.
Asparagus Muenster Melt with Pesto Spread – mild flavor and smooth, soft texture of cheese, combined with salty prosciutto and sweet tomatoes. To die!
Spicy Pork Asparagus Stir Fry – I make this all year long! Spicy with a hint of sweetness and so so easy. One of my favorite weeknight meals.
Mmmm. Come to mama!
Open-Faced Roasted Asparagus with Fresh Ricotta and Pesto
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
• 1/2 pound asparagus, rinsed and tough ends removed
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
• salt and pepper
• 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
• 4 slices rustic bread
• 1/4 cup pesto
• 1/2 cup fresh ricotta
• 1 scallion, chopped
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Lay the asparagus spears out in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the spears, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Roll the asparagus back and forth until they are fully coated. Bake in the oven for approximately 10-12 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus is, until lightly browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Drizzle with the lemon juice.
In the meantime, drizzle a little more olive oil over the bread slices and toast lightly. Spread about a tablespoon of pesto onto each slice, and spoon a few tablespoons of warm ricotta on top, followed by a couple asparagus spears and a sprinkle of chopped scallions. Finish them off by drizzling a tad more olive oil and grinding on a little black pepper.
(adapted from Kathy at Panini Happy)