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Tasty Morsels: Asparagus is in season and a perfect choice for the grill

By: Susie Iventosch
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The season for local asparagus lasts from late February through June, which leaves just a couple of weeks to take advantage of the crop. Don’t delay — Carol Arnold, general manager of the Foothill Farmers’ Market Association, says this year may see an early end to local asparagus due to the extreme heat the past week or so. Still, you’ll be able to purchase fresh asparagus from neighboring states for most of the summer. Paul Sorci, produce manager at Ikeda’s, says they’re starting to see Washington asparagus make its way to the produce stands, so you have plenty of time to try this recipe. This sandwich calls for grilled asparagus and grilled green onions, prosciutto, Gorgonzola and Pecorino Romano cheese to create a light mid-week meal — served open-faced or closed. One time we added sliced leftover chicken breast, which was a little bit heartier (included as an option in the recipe below). Of course, this sandwich can be made with any grilled seasonal vegetable, for example eggplant or bell peppers, when they come into season later in the summer. Arnold suggests using fresh spring onions, splashed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil before grilling. “They’re just coming into season and would be wonderful in the sandwich,” she noted. “The spring garlic is also very mild and delicious right now. I like to slice the garlic and sauté it in olive oil. Then I combine it with snow peas and farfalle (bow tie) pasta.” n Grilled Asparagus-Prosciutto Sandwiches (You can use your favorite seasonal vegetable in this recipe) (Makes six sandwiches) Ingredients 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cleaned 2 bunches green onions, root tips removed 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon white (or red) balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt 1 teaspoon ground pepper 12 slices of bread, whole wheat or white, crusts trimmed 3 ounces prosciutto, sliced 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (use leftover, or pre-cooked) (optional) 3 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled or thinly sliced 3 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, grated, or very thinly sliced Extra oil or butter for grilling sandwiches; or broil instead of grilling Directions Clean and trim asparagus and green onions. Place in a Ziploc baggie and season with salt and pepper. Zip bags shut and shake well to distribute seasoning. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar and zip closed again. Knead baggie to spread oil and vinegar to cover all veggies. Heat barbecue to medium heat and grill veggies for 1-2 minutes per side, until nicely browned, but al dente. Remove from grill and set aside. Meanwhile, trim crust from bread and heat oil or butter in large skillet. Heat oil in pan over medium heat and place each slice of bread in pan (in several batches, depending on the size of the pan), and place Gorgonzola on half the bread slices and Pecorino Romano on the rest. Heat until cheese begins to melt. On the Romano halves, lay two to three slices prosciutto over cheese, then 4-5 grilled asparagus spears, trimmed to fit bread, and 2-3 onions. Place Gorgonzola bread slices on top, press down with spatula and continue to grill for one to two more minutes. Serve hot. Susie can be reached at suziven@hughes.net