Ooooh would you look at that! Grilled asparagus and prosciutto on a cushion of fluffy cannellini bean puree. Serve this as a luxurious snack with drinks, or to a smaller group for a light meal.
Bean puree 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed 1 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary 3 tiny dried bird’s eye chillies, crushed 1 x 425g (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed ¼ tsp salt Bruschetta and topping 20 asparagus spears Finely grated zest 1 lemon Extra virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper 10 thickish slices ciabatta 2 fat cloves garlic, peeled and halved 10 thin slices prosciutto
1 To make the bean puree, heat the oil in a small frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat and add the garlic, rosemary and crushed chillies. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Mix in the beans and salt. Transfer to a food processor and blend to a puree; if the puree is very stiff, thin with a little warm water. (If making a day ahead, cool, cover and refrigerate, but serve at room temperature or rewarmed, not straight from the fridge.)
2 Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus spears or trim them with a knife. Wash asparagus under running water and pat dry. Mix lemon zest with 2 tablespoons oil in a large shallow dish with a few pinches of salt and plenty of black pepper. Add asparagus spears and roll them around the dish to coat with dressing. Cook asparagus spears on a preheated oiled barbecue hot plate over medium heat, turning often, until a good golden brown (this will take about 10 minutes). Remove lemon zest to a side plate as it browns.
3 Meanwhile, lightly char the bread over the grill – take care as the bread burns easily – then rub each slice on one side with a cut clove of garlic. Spread with warm bean puree and top with barbecued asparagus spears and curls of prosciutto. Serve immediately. Alternatively, if the weather is foul, cook the bread under the oven grill (broiler) (or simply pop it in a toaster) and cook the asparagus in a shallow tin like a Swiss roll tin (jelly roll pan), lined with baking (parchment) paper, in a hot oven until golden.
Photography Aaron McLean http://www.aaronmclean.com
Recipe from Julie Biuso’s Never-ending Summer
Photography by Aaron McLean, published by New Holland Publishers (NZ)