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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Asparagus and Blue Cheese Bruschetta

This unconventional bruschetta puts big flavors together in an unusual combination that somehow just works. The gourmet combination of blue cheese, lemon, and asparagus, in just the right proportions, delights the palate while being very low in fat and calories. I served this as part of the trio of bruschettas for a picnic at Ravinia last friday night. I also brought some to a friend's house for dinner on saturday. Both times people couldn't say enough about the asparagus and blue cheese bruschetta. Great for parties, picnics, or just as an appetizer.

Tip: When selecting asparagus, select asparagus that is thin, bright green, and free from blemish. Thinner stalks are more tender and flavorful.


10-12 ounces asparagus
1 small tomato
½ tsp champagne vinegar
Juice from ½ lemon
Zest from ½ lemon
½ tsp olive oil
1 oz blue cheese
¼ tsp kosher salt
5 turns from the pepper mill

Set a pot of water to boil with a steaming insert. Steam the asparagus for 3-5 minutes until still crisp and brightly green, but al dente. Quickly cool by running under cold water or emerging briefly in ice water.

Combine vinegar, lemon, olive oil, zest, salt and pepper. You may want to use slightly less than the recommended amount of lemon juice and zest and then taste before serving to be sure. Depending on the potency of your lemon, the flavor can either balance perfectly or overwhelm. Cut tomato into small dice and add.

Cut the asparagus into similar sized small dice. Crumble blue cheese finely and mix well with asparagus.

Combine asparagus with vinaigrette at the last minute before serving. The acid will gradually turn the asparagus to an unattractive color with prolonged exposure.

18 appetizer servings, approximately 1 Tbsp each. Nutritional Information (topping only) per serving: 11 calories, 0.6 g fat, 55 mg sodium, 0 g fiber

Alternative Presentation: Instead of presenting as bruschetta, consider presenting this dish as a salad or starter course. For this presentation, serve the asparagus whole and chilled, with the tomatoes diced, the blue cheese crumbled, and the lemon zest shaved into a bright pile on the bed of asparagus. Combine the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil and spoon onto the bottom of the plate. This will also keep the asparagus looking bright for longer.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also enjoy Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Bruschetta.

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