A bottle of balsamic vinegar is just as precious as a fine bottle of wine except that balsamic will last you longer. Real balsamic vinegar is food for the Gods and I mean it.
You will only need a tiny bit to liven up your food. Dress your salads, use it on meat, fish or for pure lust drizzle it on strawberries and see how it magically improves the flavour of your food.
Balsamic vinegar becomes thicker as it ages and the flavour changes. It is almost incredible the work that goes into preparing this stuff: first the grapes are crushed, cooked and matured for a long and slow vinegarization process through natural fermentation followed by progressive concentration by aging in a series of casks made from different types of wood without the addition of any type of colour, spices or flavorings. To me that is fascinating.
My recipe for today is asparagus wrapped in parma ham with parmesan shavings, salad all drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It is an excellent starter if you are hosting a dinner party and quick to prepare.
- Prep Time : 20 minutes
- Cook Time : 10 minutes
Wash the pepper, remove the filaments and cut it in half.
Wash the asparagus, cut off the thicker ends and steam or cook them for 4 minutes, just enough for them to be slightly soft but still "al dente". If your asparagus are thin you might want to cook them slightly less.
Wrap each asparagus with a slice of parma ham
Heat up a griddle with a little olive oil and when it is very hot place the wrapped asparagus on it and cook them for a couple of minutes on both sides until the ham looks nice and crunchy.
When you have finished, flatten the pepper with your hands and cook it on the same griddle pan turning it on both sides. Press firmly with a spatula so that the pepper will get that lovely chargrilled look.
Now compose your dish: place the asparagus on the plate, the salad leaves, the cherry tomatoes, olives and the parmesan shavings. Slice the olives and decorate your dish to your liking.
Make a vinagrette by mixing 2 tbsp of olive oil with 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and dress your salad and asparagus with it.
As asparagus are in season now in the UK, I am entering this to Simple & in Season with Ren Behan.