07 May 2013

Spring fling with Asparagus

Spring has finally not only sprung, but is well underway here in the Alps. It has gotten a cool and very soggy start. I think many of our normal blooms are a bit behind schedule this year not only up here but down in the valley as well. Now that it is here I don't mind so much, but certainly am enjoying the spring green everywhere and all the tiny blossoms and color that springs forth this time of the year. I know everyone enjoys the quickening of our natural world coming back to life after a long winters sleep. 

Our self adopted cat Misha frolicking in our garden
We finally have been able to put our early season window flower boxes out as we wait for our geraniums to wake up and get going. Still a little cool for their taste. They certainly prefer a warmer clime before they give up their blossoms. So we enjoy what is here at the moment, drinking it all in.
Looking up toward Merla peak,  from our balcony
And what is in season now, is what is probably my favorite vegetable, the elegant leggy Asparagus. I adore asparagus in just about every way I have ever had them, I think. And if truth be told, as a kid when Mom served them, even from a can, I still thought I had died and gone to heaven. I still pretty much feel that way whenever I have them even now, but the days of opening a can of asparagus are a very distant memory. It's fresh all the way for me. Even if the season is short, it certainly is sweet. So when I recently found I had some smoked sliced salmon waiting for just the right occasion, it didn't take me long to pair them up with the tender fresh spears I got from the market. The soft smoky flavor of the salmon pairs perfectly wrapped around rosemary infused, oven roasted stalks. I've made them a couple of times lately and I find myself pining for more as I type this blog post out.  So do make sure you try this easiest of treats or even if you find you don't have or want any salmon, oven roasting asparagus is a treat. I think oven roast most vegetables is a wonderful treatment for most vegetables as it concentrates the flavors and adds a natural sweet to their flavor. So do have a go. I added a cheese and prosciutto crudo filled piadina (an Italian tortilla- like flat bread from the Romagna countryside of the Emilia  Romagna region), to fill out this simple lunch. I served the bundles as a side dish for supper the other night and it pretty much upstaged everything else on the plate. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did. Buon appettito!

Oven roasted Asparagus Salmon Bundles

4-5 bundles

500 g or 1 bunch asparagus , ends trimmed (about 20 spears, more or less)1- 2 lengths of fresh rosemary or about 1 T chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Pinch coarse salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 T olive oil

4 to 6 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon

Preheat the oven to 400* F/ 190* C.
Lay the asparagus on a paper lined baking pan. Tuck the sprigs of rosemary under the spearsor sprinkle the chopped rosemary, salt, and pepper over the spears.
Drizzle with olive oil.

Lay the asparagus on a paper lined baking pan. Tuck the sprigs of rosemary under the spearsor sprinkle the chopped rosemary, salt, and pepper over the spears.Drizzle with olive oil.
Roast until cooked and starting to brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle.
Gather about 4- 5 spears together and wrap each bunch in a slice of smoked salmon. Arrange on a serving platter and serve at room or warmish temperature.


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I was at one of our local grocers and found local asparagus. Spring is definitely here!!

Bella Baita Marla said...

Hooray for Spring is definitely in order!

James Higham said...

It's certainly the time of asparagus and really good things.

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