Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Asparagus Prosciutto & Ricotta Crostini with Arugula

My Opa (my grandfather) has sold his home and is moving in less than a month. Besides the many photo albums, fancy barware, and furniture that needs to be cleared from his home, is much of my immediate family's belongings. When we sold our family home almost four years ago, there were so many special treasures that we wanted to keep but had no room to store in our new tiny apartment. Alas, my poor Oma and Opa were left with a basement full of all our old memories (which may be a euphemism for "old junk") until we could figure out what to do with it all. Though we still haven't a clue what to do with all of our old mementos, the time has come to take it all back, which inevitably means a nostalgic walk down memory lane. 

Each time I see my mom I get a delivery of some of my old memories (*cough* junk!) for me to sort through and store in my own home. Though there's surely been a lot of useless crap that I've come across that I haven't a clue why I ever saved, there have been some really memorable and personal belongings that I'm so, so glad I held onto (or my mom coerced me to hold onto). The most special boxes I've come across so far are the ones that contain old sketchbooks! 
For as long as I can remember I have kept a sketchbook. Actually, I should correct that to for as long as I can remember I have kept numerous sketchbooks! I always have one for concentrated illustration, one for practicing my handwriting, one for scrapbooking, one for a journal, one for recipes, one for brainstorming, one for painting, one for - oh dear lord, there's too many to count, and you get the gist! The point is, I clearly have too many sketchbooks for my own good, but my sketchbooks are the main destination where I get to express myself in whichever way I so choose. Coming across an old sketchbook from University, when I first began my blog, was really interesting. Tucked between carefully-written song lyrics (so emo!) and drawings of quirky villains were brainstorming sketches of future recipes. 
It was so amazing to be able to look back on the many different recipe and flavour combinations that I had come up with while my blog was still so new and fresh. Some of them turned into great blog posts and recipes that I've shared right here, though so many of them have remained just a dream. Looking back, I can't help but want to kick myself for never making so many of these fantastic recipe ideas a reality! Though I can't turn back time, I can catch up by reigniting my inspiration for recipe development by making all of my old recipes concepts a reality! 

One of my old recipe concepts that I was really eager to create was a crostini topped with ricotta, roasted asparagus, prosciutto, and arugula. I could tell just by reading it that it was going to be great! I love this combination of ingredients for the way all of the different flavours and textures contrast with one another. I love how the creamy and subtle ricotta plays off of the super salty prosciutto, crunchy asparagus, and peppery arugula. These crostini made the perfect casual weekend lunch for my boyfriend Chris and I, though thanks to there beautiful appearance, these would also be fantastic served for guests! If you plan on serving these for friends and family when entertaining, I recommend making the ricotta mixture in advance and keeping in the fridge until ready to assemble so that you can whip these up in under 10 minutes when ready to serve! 
Note: I chose not to include ingredient amounts in this recipe to encourage you to learn how to taste and season on your own and be able to adapt this recipe from a lunch for two to a party for 10!

lemon zest
asparagus, trimmed
good quality bread (I like to use either a multigrain or light rye loaf from Stonemill Bakehouse), sliced thin
good quality extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to season
Maldon Salt, to taste (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, stir together ricotta (you will need about 1-Tbsp/crostini) with some fresh lemon zest (about 1-pinch/crostini) and some salt and pepper to taste. Keep covered in fridge until ready to assemble. 
  2. Lay asparagus (2 spears per crostini) on a toaster oven-sized baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 350ยบ in a toaster oven until tender (about 5-10 minutes). Cut each spear in half and set aside.
  3. Toast bread until crisp and golden. 
  4. In a small bowl lightly toss a handful of arugula with a very light drizzle of olive oil. 
  5. Spread each toast evenly with ricotta. Top with asparagus and then a slice of prosciutto. Top with arugula and drizzle lightly with good quality olive oil and a light sprinkle of Maldon Salt. Serve immediately. 
Listening To:

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