Ham Wrapped Asparagus

Have any of that easter ham left?  Perfect.  Serve these with a poached or fried egg for breakfast or alone as a party snack.

Serving size is up to you.  This recipe is easily changed as you need one thin slice of ham for each asparagus spear.  

Ham Wrapped Asparagus Spears 

12 spears asparagus, trimmed

12 thin slices of ham, (1/2 lb at the deli counter will do it)

Lightly oil a large skillet, set over medium heat.  Wrap each asparagus spear with one thin slice of ham.  Place in skillet.  Cook 2 minutes on each side, turing frequently to avoid burning the ham.  Total cooking time should be at least 8 minutes, 10 for a  more tender spear.  

Serve with a poached egg. 

To poach an egg:  Bring a small pot of water to a boil.  Add a pinch of salt and a splash of white vinegar.  Reduce heat to just below a simmer - 200 degrees.  Crack egg into a small bowl.  

Give the water a couple stirs to establish a current.  Carefully, slip the egg into the 200 degree water.  Leave it alone for 4 minutes.  (3 minutes for a gooey egg) Remove egg from water with a slotted spoon.  Transfer to paper towel or asparagus spears.

Mushroom + Asparagus Risotto

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Valentine's Day is fast approaching people!  (What happened to January?)  I make risotto every year.  What will you make for your loved one?  

If you decide to make this risotto you can either make the mushroom stock or use an already made one, it's up to you.  The Crescenza cheese is also sometimes called Stracchino cheese.  It is a soft, young cheese from Italy that tastes like milk. 

Makes 2 large servings.

Mushroom + Asparagus Risotto

for the stock

4 cups water

1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms

for the risotto

About 12 spears asparagus, chopped

1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, cleaned, sliced

drizzle olive oil

1 shallot, minced

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup aborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

s + p

3 oz Crescenza Cheese

For stock:

 In a small pot, bring to a boil water, dried porcini mushrooms and stems from the 1/2 lb of cremini muchrooms.  Boil for 1 minute and remove from heat.  Let sit for about 20 minutes and then strain through a fine mesh sieve.  Discard solids and set liquid aside.

For risotto:

 Blanche Asparagus for 1 minute and set aside.  

In a pan, sauté mushroom caps (stems on if you didn't need them to make above stock) in a drizzle of olive oil for 3 minutes.  Set aside with asparagus.  

In a pan, cook shallot in butter about 2 minutes until soft and clear.  Add aborio rice and stir to coat in butter about 1 minute.

Add white wine and evaporate then begin adding mushroom stock 1/2 cup at a time.  Stir slowly, letting rice absorb stock before adding more.  This will take about 20-25 minutes.  After all stock has been added rice will appear creamy and be just cooked.  

Stir in mushrooms and asparagus, reserving some asparagus tips for garnish.  Add parmesan cheese and an optional 1/2 tablespoon of butter.  Season with salt and pepper.  

Spoon into bowl and top each with asparagus tips and crescenza cheese.