Italian Nibbles and The Culinary Chase

by Michelle

I am always amazed at how versatile Italian food is.

On Thursday Christie and I visited with one of our life long friends. At one point in our lives, we were related. Her daughter and son are my youngest cousins! She had been living outside of Canada for years. Two years ago, she moved back to Halifax with her family so we decided to take a road trip and have dinner together. She is a fabulous cook. Instead of eating out, she treated us to a delicious evening of her food.

It’s always fun for me when I get to sit back and watch the cook. She poured Christie and I icy cold glasses of sparkling wine from a local vineyard and began to cook. We started with artichoke and roasted red pepper topped endive spears. The silkiness of the filling paired perfectly with the crunch of the endive. As Christie and I were plowing our way through the platter of endive, our hostess was squeezing the innards out of Italian sausage casings. To the sausage meat, she added some shredded fontina and then generously topped freshly sliced baguette.

As the crostini were baking in the oven, she moved on to proscuitto wrapped asparagus. These were absolutely my favorite. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. The preparation was simple. The result was delicious!

She rounded out our nibbles with a gutsy olivada and a creamy brie – a little trip to France! – worked perfectly. After all of these lovely starters, we really could have said, ‘we are full’ but we were having too much fun. Happily our experienced friend knew just what to serve.

A perfectly dressed salad of roasted plum tomatoes, wedges of avocado, blanched asparagus, crunchy coated chicken breast pieces over lightly lemoned greens. The girl can cook!

We ended our evening with a selection of grilled and chilled fruit with warmed chocolate.

The following recipe is what I remember Heather doing…

Proscuitto Wrapped Asparagus

12 asparagus, trimmed

12 thinly sliced pieces of proscuitto

12 teaspoons freshly grated reggiano parmigiano, or to taste

Sprinkle each piece of proscuitto with a teaspoon or so of grated parmesan.

Place an asparagus spear on top of each proscuitto slice at the cheesy end and roll.

Place a large skillet over medium heat – add a tablespoon of olive oil.

Saute the procuitto wrapped asparagus in one layer until lightly browned.

Serve immediately.

Thanks for reading.