Asparagus Alert!

By Wini Moranville

Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market opens Saturday, and I’ll be poking around the stalls for some fresh local asparagus. Here’s how I love serving this harbinger of spring, using ingredients from a few of my favorite local food shops. I suggest serving this platter as a sit-down course instead of a salad; it’s also an eye-catching addition to a potluck table.

Roasted Asparagus with Mayo-Dressed Eggs and La Quercia Prosciutto

1          pound asparagus, trimmed

1          tablespoon Vom Fass lemon olive oil

4          hard-boiled eggs, cut in half
2          tablespoons good-quality bottled mayonnaise
1          teaspoon Dijon mustard
1          teaspoon Vom Fass herb vinegar

1          tablespoon fresh parsley, chives, tarragon or chervil, or a combination

Salt and ground pepper to taste

To Finish:
La Quercia prosciutto
Piment d’Espelette (a crushed chili from the Basque country)
Shavings of Ossau-Iraty, Manchego or other medium-to-hard sheep’s-milk cheese.

1. For the asparagus, preheat oven to 450°F. Place the asparagus spears in a large, shallow roasting pan. Rub each spear with enough lemon olive oil to coat but do not oversaturate.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Spread the asparagus into a single layer. Roast until crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

3. For the eggs, cut the eggs in half lengthwise. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, herb(s), and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Arrange asparagus, eggs and prosciutto on a platter. Dollop a little of the mayonnaise mixture atop the eggs. Top asparagus with shavings of cheese.  If desired, serve with a bowl of olives and breadsticks. Makes 4 servings.

Sources: Find the oil and vinegar at Vom Fass (833 42nd St., 244-5020); Piment d’Espelette at Allspice (400 E. Locust St, 868-0808); and sheep’s milk cheese at either Gateway Market (2002 Woodland Ave., 243-1754) or The Cheese Shop of Des Moines (833 42nd St., 528-8181).

 

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