Saturday, March 7, 2009
The last couple of Fridays we've had friends over for a game night after we put the kids to bed. I was looking for a snack to serve when I happened upon this recipe by Carole from Hey Mom, What's For Dinner. I had a little asparagus in my fridge that I'd have to qualify as questionable rather than edible if I didn't use it up soon. The aging asparagus, plus the yummy looking carmelized onions from Carole's picture prompted me to give this one a try. I'm certainly glad I did. This bruschetta was oh-so-good. It was a hit with my guests too, I think I only had one piece leftover when game night reached it's conclusion sometime after the clock struck midnight.
I chopped an onion and put it on to carmelize while I made dinner that night. Carmelizing takes some time, and I didn't want to be standing over a skillet when our friends arrived. I wanted to have a glass of wine in hand and a tray of bruschetta ready to pop into the over when our friends arrived. So, I worked ahead.
I sliced my asparagus into (about) 1 inch pieces
and threw it into boiling, salted water to blanch for 3 minutes.
Then I removed the asparagus into an ice bath.
Rather than a baguette, I sliced a loaf of French bread. Same thing, just bigger. I super-sized this recipe even more and sliced the bread into about 1" thick slices. I was feeling hungry. And why are my size 6's boxed up in the basement? Hmmm. In the words of Southern heroine Scarlett O'Hara, "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow." All right then, back to the bread. Guilt for later, I drizzle olive oil over the slices and sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper before putting them in my 350 degree oven for 6-8 minutes until they get toasted.
Bread toasting away in the oven, let's head over to the topping. I mixed together the asparagus with the carmelized onion and sprinkled with some sesame seeds. I cooked it long enough to heat through.
I also added a few drops of sesame oil and I squeezed a little lemon juice over the mixture.
I topped each piece of bread with the mixture. This already looks good enough to eat and I haven't even added the...
CHEESE! I grated some Parmigiano Reggiano. It's good stuff! A little pricey though. My local grocery sells it in big (therefore expensive) pieces. I choose a big ol' chunk and take it to the cheese counter and show them how much I really want. They'll cut it down to size and re-price it. Tah-dah, I just saved 10 dollars! I don't know if your grocery will do this, but it doesn't hurt to ask. If you'd like to see another of my favorite recipes that showcases Parmigiano Reggiano, please look at this Blushing Penne Recipe.
I turned my broiler on and put these puppies underneath until the cheese melted.
Serve em' up!
Sesame Asparagus & Caramelized Onion Bruschetta
By: Carole from Hey Mom, What's for Dinner?
1 lb asparagus, diced diagonally into bite-sized pieces
1 medium onion, diced
salt & pepper
Sesame seed oil
Toasted sesame seeds
Fresh lemon juice (a wedge of lemon should do fine)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Slice baguette into 1/4" slices. Drizzle with EVOO; sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until just toasted.
Sautee onions in a tablespoon or so of EVOO until just caramelized.
While onions are sauteeing, blanch asparagus in salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Immediately immerse in ice bath to stop cooking & set color.
Add asparagus to onions & sprinkle with sesame seeds. Heat through. Add a drop or two of sesame seed oil, to taste, if desired. Season with salt & pepper.
Remove from heat. Add a few drops of fresh lemon juice, to taste.
Top baguette slices with asparagus mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake until cheese begins to melt.