I find myself faced with an interesting challenge. Recently, I pulled out all my serving pieces and gave them a nice polish. As I looked at my prep table covered in spoons and knives and serving forks, I realized we don’t entertain as we should. My pretty serving pieces rarely get to strut their stuff.
Oh, we entertain – as in barbecues and pot lucks and casual family get togethers. We just don’t seem to do enough “production” entertaining. You know, when you spend days or even weeks agonizing over the menu, paying attention to every detail. In all my years of hosting dinner parties, I’ve never done a fancy affair for my Dad. He is not a fancy man, and I respect that. My Dad is an Okie Farmer at heart. Still, I want to show him what I can really do. My mother came from wealth and privilege. She was one heck of a hostess. I learned so much from her of the finer things in life.
I’ve decided to do a six-course supper for my dad. The challenge here is simple yet elegant. Hope you come along while I try out different ideas. I haven’t decided what the appetizer course will be. Here’s my first consideration. Any thoughts?
Tomato Asparagus Bruschetta
1/2 lb fresh Asparagus
3 cups Water
2 cups Grape Tomatoes
1/2 cup Fresh Bail
3 Green Onions
3 Garlic Cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons Lemon Zest
1 Lemon, juice only
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Pinch Kosher Salt
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
1 (8 oz) French Bread Baguette
1/2 cup crumbled Blue Cheese (see note)
Note: While the original recipe calls for Blue Cheese, not everyone is a Blue Cheese Fan. Feta is a lovely substitute.
Trim asparagus and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add the asparagus; cover and boil for 2-4 minutes. Drain and immediately place asparagus in ice water to halt the cooking process. Drain and pat dry. Set aside.
Cut tomatoes in half. Place in a large bowl. Mince fresh basil. Sprinkle over the tomatoes. Chop the green onions and scatter in the bowl with the tomatoes. Peel the garlic cloves and grate over the tomato mixture. Zest and squeeze the lemon. Add to the tomatoes.
Add cooled asparagus, olive oil, salt and pepper to the tomato mixture. Toss to blend.
Slice the baguette, brush with a little olive oil and lightly toast on a baking sheet under the broiler just until the bread begins to brown.
Arrange toasted baguette on a serving platter. Using a slotted spoon, pile asparagus mixture onto the bread.
Sprinkle with crumbled Cheese and serve.