Summer has all but arrived here in Rotorua and I feel inspired to get back to my blog. However, the dynamic has changed somewhat; I no longer have a full kitchen or more than one to cook for on a regular basis. So this summer will be focused on quick, easy cuisine mostly cooked on the barbeque and, more often that not, vegetarian.
To kick off this summers theme I have an easy warm asparagus salad served on garlic crustini… the ultimate barbeque dinner for one in under 20 minutes.
For the crustini…
Slices of cheobatta or other flavoursome white bread
2 cloves of garlic crushed
4 tablespoons of olive oil
mix the olive oil and crushed garlic together. Brush this mix lavishly on both sides and sprinkle with sea salt.
For the salad…
1 dozen spears of young green asparagus
a handful of young spinach
The asparagus spears have a woody section at their base. Remove this by taking each spear by either end and bending it until it breaks. It will break at the top of the woody section. Place spears into a bowl and cover in boiling water. Rest like this for a few minutes until their colour brightens. Drain and dress with olive oil and seasoning ready for the barbeque.
The capsicum I used is one that had been char-grilled yesterday and left in the fridge under oil. You can use fresh sliced capsicum, but it must be cooked for much longer than the asparagus. Slice the capsicum and, if already char-grilled, add to the asparagus. If not, keep separate and pop the capsicum on the barbeque well before the bread and the asparagus.
Saute the vegetable mix on a hot plate while toasting the bread on open gill side, moving the slices regularly to avoid burning. When the asparagus is cooked to the point where it still has a little crunch (this will only take a couple of minutes), remove the vegtables from the BBQ and toss with young spinach. There should be sufficient oil in the the the BBQ’ed vegtables that the salad does not need further dressing. Serve salad mounded on top of the crispy bread.
There are of course limitless variations on this theme. I have recently made these barbequed crustini topped with grilled zucchini, field mushrooms, asparagus, halumi and a fresh cherry tomato salad. Quick, easy, fresh and seasonal – go mad.