Happy Wednesday, friends! I recently took a break from a fairly short nutritional escape (dieting is hard!!) only to find that I was enjoying the colorful additions of fruits and vegetables on my plate. After taking a turn about my local Sprouts, I filled my cart with berries and drupes, nuts and nibbles, topping it off with a basket full of greens, roots and veg.
Asparagus is one of those treats I’ve really only eaten on someone else’s table. For one thing, what does one do with asparagus? Why do they store it … standing up … usually in a bowl of water? It seems so daunting, all the things you have to know to nurture a small bunch of greens until they are grown up enough to decorate a plate!
But I decided to take the plunge, purchasing my first ever bunch of asparagus! It was unnerving. I wrapped them in a damp paper towel (they lived!), trimmed their little ends (they’re still a lovely, vibrant green at the center!), cracked one in half (the Hundred Foot Journey test … Helen Mirren, always impress Helen Mirren!) and sat down with a stack of cookbooks to figure out … now what! I was in the mood for a quick vegetarian dinner…but then I thought a slice of slightly salty honeyed ham sounded amazing too. Which is how I wound up with this amazing concoction.
Delicately braised asparagus dolloped with a fresh lemon whipped ricotta and hints of salty ham for that little extra je ne sais quoi! It’s a tired man’s feast, pairing asparagus with a kiss of water over medium heat until softened, vibrant green and lovingly caramelized at the edges. No need to stand over a stove or fuss. Tucked into a jambon pocket with lemony hints of ricotta cheese, what’s not to love. A mostly vegetarian dish, ready in minutes for an easy weeknight feast.
- 4-6 asparagus spears, ends trimmed
- 1/2 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon milk
- pinch of salt
- 1/16 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1-2 slices ham, thinly sliced
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1 teaspoon Parmiggiano Reggiano
- 1 teaspoon fresh chives, minced
- In a skillet large enough to lay the asparagus in a single layer, bring the asparagus, EVOO and water to a simmer over medium heat. Let simmer until the water is dissolved and the asparagus is caramelized.
- Meanwhile, whisk the ricotta, milk, lemon zest and salt together until light and fluffy.
- Finally, fold the ham in half and neatly place on a plate, add the braised asparagus, top with the whipped ricotta, season and sprinkle with chives. Yum!