As Spring starts to poke it's head out, our minds start to turn to....asparagus, of course. I love asparagus and actually my kids do too (ok, ok, 2 of of 4 do...but those two LOVE it). So, I'm often happy when I run across a new recipe that features it. This one certainly fits the bill
Let's start with a little info to know about asparagus. Look for asparagus in the market from February to June, with April being the peak. Look for a bright green color - with no signs of shriveling. The tips should be firm and tight. If the tips are mushy...bad sign. You can easily store them for a few days by trimming the cut ends, standing them up in a glass of water, cover with plastic, and refrigerating the whole thing. Always trim those fibrous ends before cooking.
One thing to think about in advance is to set the puff-pastry in the refrigerator the night before to thaw. As you start to cook, the puff pastry gets baked first. You fold out the dough on a floured surface, transfer it to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. give it an egg wash, and then use a knife to make a rectangle all the way around it (about an inch from the edges). You prick all over inside the rectangle with a knife (leaving the edges alone). It bakes for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
While the puff pastry is baking you whisk together the whisk together the ricotta, egg, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. This mixture gets spread inside the rectangle you made in the puff pastry.
Next, you lay the trimmed asparagus on top of the ricotta mixture - alternating tips and ends. Then brush lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sprinkled with shredded prosciutto. The it bakes in the oven for 15 minutes. Check it at that point. If it's browning a little too quickly, place some tented foil over the top. Place it back in the oven and bake another 5-7 minutes to get the asparagus nice and tender. Then all you need to do is to cool for about 2 minutes and sprinkle with some additional parmesan cheese (and who wouldn't want to do that?), slice, and serve. And that's it! Done!
Just a bit about WellPlated.com, one of my favorite recipe blogs. Erin really works hard to make dishes with healthy foods that taste great. She even has some lightened-up versions of some of your favorite comfort foods! This will tell you all you need to know about Erin and WellPlated.com as she says "I’m convinced that cheese and chocolate are the answer, that you can love sweets and veggies equally, and that delicious, satisfying food should be accessible to everyone. The recipes here are affordable, approachable, and delectable...". Hers is definitely a site to have on your regular reading list!
So as we get into Spring you'll start seeing more and more asparagus in your grocery stores. And you know you'll just be dying to find new and creative ways to prepare them. Well, I've just served you one up on a platter! I bet this one finds it's way onto your Easter table (as it will mine).
ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND! :)