On The Menu Next Week: Asparagus And Prosciutto Tartines May 22, 2017
Tartine, open-faced sandwich, fancy piece of toast… call it what you want. The important part is that this seasonal asparagus, prosciutto, and creamy ricotta recipe will change your life. Select it off the menu today, cook it next week, and never think about breakfast the same way again.
Can you describe the process of developing this breakfast recipe? What was your inspiration?
Chef Freida: I love making different types of toast for breakfast, and ricotta is my favorite base (sorry, avocado!). These toasts are topped with prosciutto and a few pieces of asparagus and served alongside a seasonal potato hash. The best part is that the potatoes are roasted in the oven (rather than fried in a pan) to make things easier.
Tartine vs. toast vs. bruschetta. What’s the difference?
Chef Freida: Tomato tomAto. I think of tartines as the French version, toast as the American version, and bruschetta as the Italian version.
Chef Nate: I agree — there isn’t a huge difference between the three. When I think of each, I imagine different presentations. Tartines are made on a flatbread and are larger and thinner. Toasts involve your ordinary slices of bread as a base. When I think bruschetta, I always imagine sourdough or semolina breads cut into thicker pieces.
What’s your favorite way to cook asparagus? Any dos, dont’s?
Chef Freida: Just don’t overcook them. There’s nothing worse than soggy, mushy asparagus. They should be vibrant and have a little bite to them. Funny story actually — I remember one spring I got a crazy amount of asparagus in my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box and had to eat it almost everyday for a week! I had to figure out so many new ways to cook it.
Chef Nate: A quick flash on the grill (or under the broiler) really brings out the fresh flavor of the asparagus. Simply done with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then finished with lemon juice and/or butter. I have memories of a good friend’s wedding on her family asparagus farm on Long Island. The wedding was on a hilltop overlooking the asparagus fields. It’s quite remarkable to see each of the individual stalks growing.
How does prosciutto differ from ordinary ham or bacon? Are they interchangeable?
Chef Nate: Prosciutto, ham, and bacon are all different products. Prosciutto is usually made from a leg of pork that has been dry aged at a controlled temperature for anywhere from weeks to years. Ham could refer to processed pork that has been cured, or to a fresh pork roast. Bacon comes from the pork belly and is usually cured with salt and spices.
While not fully interchangeable, they are all salty pork products, so most recipes could be adapted to accommodate each.
How would you describe ricotta to someone who’s never eaten it before? What foods or flavors does it pair well with?
Chef Freida: It’s a blank canvas. Super creamy and rich. You can mix in so many different flavors like lemon, garlic, and fresh herbs. It’s especially good dolloped onto fresh pasta.
Chef Nate: Ricotta is a mild, extremely soft cheese somewhat similar to cottage cheese but less yogurt-like. It lends itself well to many flavors and is a common ingredient in Italian cooking. Lemon, herbs, tomato, beets, and butternut squash are some of my favorite compliments to ricotta.
Why should home cooks be excited to cook this breakfast recipe? What will they learn?
Chef Freida: They will learn how to make a crispy potato hash without any oil splattering! Whenever I cook brunch, I look for as many things as possible to be cooked in the oven. Hands-off brunches are the way to go.
What are the nutritional benefits of this recipe?
Rebecca, RD: I love that this week’s breakfast recipe includes asparagus, which is in season right now. This is an awesome veggie to work with because it cooks up super quick and is very versatile — it can be steamed, sautéed, or roasted. Nutritionally, it’s chock-full of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as antioxidants that help slow the aging process.
Sarah, RD: Protein, fiber, and healthy fats are the key to a hearty and wholesome breakfast, and this recipe definitely fits the bill. The bread packs in whole grains, the ricotta packs the protein, and the asparagus packs almost half of your daily fiber. The combination of these nutrients makes this a balanced and delicious way to start (or end) your day.
Colorful, delicious, nutritious = win – win – win, so don’t miss the chance to cook this stunner for yourself! Select it off the menu today.