"Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush." Doug Larson
Hiya followers, I hope you like today's quote! It put a smile on my face and I couldn't help but use it, considering I just saw snow flurries! Also, I have exciting news but I will wait until the end of my blog to share! Ha!
I love asparagus. For me, asparagus is so much more than just a vegetable, it encompasses Spring! When I see it's bright green colour and realise it is a product of Ontario, I cannot wait to taste it's fresh flavour. Asparagus is always the first major crop to be harvested in Ontario and always gets me so excited!
Asparagus has been cultivated and eaten since the time of the Egyptians. With it's elegant appearance, you can't help but understand why asparagus has always been a favourite on the tables of nobility and royalty throughout history. And no wonder the ancient Roman Cato recorded his precise growing methods, because they sure are needed! Through growing asparagus ourselves, do I further appreciate this rather fickle plant. When my Dad decided to grow asparagus in our garden up at our 10 acres in Norfolk County, he thought it was going to be easy enough. Then he started to do the research and quickly realised that growing asparagus is quite unique! It takes three years of careful gardening to produce the delicate, edible stalks. We bought one year old roots hoping that they would give us our loved asparagus a year sooner, but they failed to thrive. So, seeds it had to be and now, after three years of holding our breath, my parents finally got a taste of homegrown asparagus a couple of days ago! Vibrant in flavour with a mild sweetness, my parents enjoyed every last morsel of the handful of asparagus they picked. I am rather envious that I wasn't there to savour it with them, but I know that I will get my chance soon! Now that our small crop has been established, I am so, so happy that we will be enjoying our very own asparagus for years to come!
Simple and Tasty Recipe:
Prosciutto wrapped Ontario Asparagus with Parmigiano Reggiano
(makes 1 dozen)
12 asparagus stalks, washed and the bottoms trimmed (preferably Ontario grown!)
6 pcs prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp lemon zest
Fresh ground pepper
Blanche the asparagus by bringing a medium pot of salted water up to the boil and toss in the asparagus stalks. Fill a large bowl with cold water and set aside. Allow the water to come back up to the boil and remove the asparagus after one minute of cooking with tongs or a slotted spoon. Plunge the asparagus into the cold water to quickly stop the asparagus from cooking any further. You want the stalks to still be a bit firm. Once cooled, remove the asparagus and allow them to dry on a clean tea towel or paper towels, set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the cheese, parsley, lemon zest and a couple grinds of black pepper. Spread out the lengths of prosciutto, and place a generous 1/2 tsp of the cheese mixture down the middle of each slice. Place the top of a stalk of the asparagus on an angle at the end of a slice of prosciutto and begin to roll the stalk tightly upwards until the prosciutto is wrapped around the stalk. Repeat. Either serve immediately at room temperature, chilled or hot (heat a pan or grill on medium high and quickly fry/grill the asparagus and prosciutto for a few minutes, turning often, until the prosciutto is brown and crisp, serve immediately). Sprinkle any remaining cheese mixture on the bottom of your platter for a lovely presentation, enjoy!
Now, as for my announcement... I have started a new full time Chef position at the fantastic Spirit Tree Estate Cidery in Caledon! Kevin and I first discovered Spirit Tree while on a Sunday country drive a couple of years ago and I just had to blog about it! The cidery is nestled amongst the apple orchard in which the soft and hard ciders are made of on site. Spirit Tree also offers artisan breads which are baked in the wood fire oven, pastries, savoury fare which can be enjoyed in the Tasting Room, along with locally made food products, wood worked items and artwork. Oh yes, and how can I not mention that Friday evenings are wood oven pizza night?! Yum! I am so happy to be apart of the team and please, please, come and visit us there! Make sure to stay warm my chilled followers, and I will be back again next Monday! Bye!