Saturday 11 May 2013

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Toasts (and Yuko's Plant Sale)


The combination of asparagus and goat cheese is obviously a classic by the amount of related recipes to be found.  I was trying to decide if I should make a pasta, pizza or salad with these ingredients. It was taking me a long time to think that one through, and in the meantime, I was getting pretty hungry - so I made up these quick toast appetizers for lunch.  The other options can wait for dinner.

The asparagus was purchased this morning at the Carp Farmer's Market, one of the first to open for the season.  The Farmer's Market was not my primary purpose for being in that area; I had gone earlier in the morning to Yuko's Plant Sale in Carleton Place.  Yuko sells some very unique plants, and next year, when I hope to reduce the number of seeds I start on my own, I expect to purchase some of her very interesting tomatoes and other vegetables. But today, I focused on just a few items that I was interested in: Jerusalem Artichoke, another rhubarb plant and some horseradish.  Well, I tried to focus on those; I also picked up some wild garlic, wild grape, a Nanking Cherry shrub (baby shrub, that is), a lovely little viola flower and some Mitsuba (a japanese herb).  What the heck am I going to do with everything?!

I also popped into Clarmell Farms in Manotick for some tangy chevre.

Asparagus, grilled and chopped in small pieces
Pine Nuts, pan roasted
Baguette, sliced and grilled
Truffle Oil (optional)

I have not bothered to list amounts of the ingredients, it is really to your own preference.  Assume 1 small or 1/2 medium asparagus spear, 3-5 pine nut kernels and at least 1 Tbsp chevre per toast.

First step is to roast the asparagus.  If you are a newbie to this, check out my post on Asparagus Tart for different options for preparing the asparagus.

Second step is roasting the pine nuts quickly in a pan on med-high heat.  Pine nuts have a high amount of fat, and will burn quickly - don't look away for too long (I had to make a second batch).

Drizzle some olive oil onto your baguette slices and grill (I don't have a BBQ, so I've just used a grill pan). 

Spread chevre onto each toast, top with asparagus, sprinkle with pine nuts and drizzle with truffle oil.  Season with a bit of S&P (Note: After spreading the toast with chevre, I had popped into under the broiler but I didn't like how it affected the texture of the cheese, so I don't recommend it).

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