Winter has been long and chilly and everybody is longing for the first signs of spring.
We were lucky to escape the cold weather by the end of January when we travelled back to Peru and are now enjoying summer at it's best.
Here it's Asparagus season - a veggie we all love.
Back in our Austrian country home, my grandfather used to grow his own Asparagus in the vegetable garden.
Harvest time was from the end of April until the end of June (usual finishing at St Johns Day, the 24th of June)
I still remember the excitement when watching him cutting this delicacy so that our cook ( as most of the outstanding Central European cooks coming originally from the Czech Republic) could prepare it as fresh as possible.
Nobody ever dared to come late for dinner because my grandfather took punctuality for this special dinner as serious as you can possibly imagine.
It was served after delicately cooking in slightly buttered salt water with a bit sugar added to enhance the flavor.
Served with a wonderful Sauce Hollandaise that literally melted in your mouth and matched the delicate asparagus flavor perfectly, this meal was as close as one could possibly be to culinary heaven.
One of the great qualities of asparagus is it's versatility.
The key to great taste is freshness and not to overcook this delicate veggie.
Todays preparation is quick and tastes fantastic.
You need only a few ingredients and the flavors and textures pair very well.
A great sneak or appetizer as well as a light meal, it will bring a bit of spring time feeling to your table.
I wanted to apologies for the poor quality of some of the pictures but I had some problems with my camera.
1 bunch (about 1/2kg) green asparagus
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
100g thinly sliced Prosciutto or Serrano ham, halved
1teaspoon Olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
Coarse salt and freshly grated pepper (optional)
Preheat oven to 220 C ( 425F)
cut the ends of the asparagus off (don't throw them away, they make a great cream soup!), leaving you with about 9 cm spears from the tip to the middle of the spear.
Blanch the asparagus for just 1 to 2 minutes in boiling water with a bit of salt.
Drain and pat dry with paper towel.
Brush with melted butter.
Coat in grated parmesan cheese
Wrap each asparagus with a 1/2 a slice of prosciutto.
season with salt and freshly ground pepper (I recommend very little salt as the parmesan and prosciutto are already salty)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place asparagus onto the baking sheet
and bake for about 7 minutes or until parmesan is golden brown.
Sprinkle with a bit of Olive oil and lemon juice (optional)
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