I love it when the first Spring produce starts to come into the markets and stores. Here at the Carolina Bed & Breakfast we like to use fruits and vegetables in season and by the end of winter the cupboard can look pretty bare so the arrival of strawberries and asparagus is greeted with the same pleasure as the warm sun! Belgian Waffles with fresh strawberries are always a big favorite at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast and Asparagus quiche goes back on the menu. But knowing what’s going to arrive in our CSA basket from Full Sun Farm got me thinking of new ways to include this wonderful Spring bounty in our menus.
It seems like it’s been a while since I shared a recipe with all of you so I decided to dedicate this blog to strawberries and asparagus as hors d’oeurves.
Balsamic Roasted Strawberry and Goat Cheese Bruschetta
Strawberries with their sweet, juicy flavor are not generally considered material for an appetizer until you stop to consider some of the flavors they mix well with: balsamic vinegar, black pepper, goat cheese and basil came to mind for me. These bruschetta also work well on top of a mix of spring greens for a wonderful salad.
1 pint fresh strawberries
2-3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Soft goat cheese
I tossed the strawberries in some balsamic vinegar which we buy locally from Olive and Kickin and
roasted them for an hour at 300F until the berries were soft. You can do this in the morning and let them rest at room temperature until you are ready to use them. Slice a baguette into half inch slices, brush lightly with good olive oil and toast under the broiler until brown, turn and do the same thing on the other side (you can do this ahead too). To assemble the bruschetta, spread some soft goat cheese on a slice of toasted baguette, top with a strawberry and a small basil leaf. We like to use local goat cheese for which there are a number of sellers. (When you come to Asheville we will set you up with a map of the WNC Cheese Trail to help you find them.) A quick dusting of black pepper finishes it off.
Oven Baked Asparagus Fries with Carolina Remoulade Sauce
This is a great recipe to use when you have some extra asparagus or have used the asparagus tips in another dish and have some stalks to use up.
1/4 cup flour
1/4 -1/2 cup panko crumbs
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp milk
12 Asparagus stalks
Preheat oven to 400F. Place the flour in a bowl and season it with a little salt and pepper. Put the milk and egg in another bowl and the panko crumbs in a third (break the crumbs up a bit with your fingers). Line a cookie tray with foil and place a rack over it. Dip the asparagus stalks in the flour, then in the egg mixture and then roll them in the panko crumbs pressing a bit to get them to stick. If the panko gets too clumpy you may have to mix some more. Place the asparagus on the prepared rack and spray with cooking oil. Bake in the oven for approximately 6 minutes then flip the stalks, spray them again and bake for another 6 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve warm with Remoulade Sauce.
Carolina Remoulade Sauce
(We call it “Carolina” sauce because we use our house-made corn relish but you can use any store-bought relish, pickle or salsa)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1-2 tablespoons corn relish
Cayenne pepper to taste.
Mix together and adjust seasonings until you like it.