19 April 2010

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Asparagus Pesto

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Asparagus Pesto

Have I told you that I love asparagus lately? It seems that the arrival of Spring means the arrival of asparagus and searching for many ways to use it. Perhaps this urgency, besides the fact that asparagus is one of my favourite vegetables, is because one of our patients used to bring us over 20 pounds of garden fresh asparagus from his farm every Spring. Good thing I love this vegetable!! The urgency was to create as many dishes as possible before it all went very wrong.

This year I decided on turning to my other favourite...pesto. I don't know about you but I am just in love with pesto. Spinach pesto, traditional basil pesto, garlic scape pesto,  red pepper pesto...if it can be thrown in the food processor or pummeled in a mortor and pestle it will show up as pesto on my table. So why not asparagus pesto!!!

With asparagus season upon us it’s time to take out some of my favorite recipes using my favorite vegetable. The following twist on classic Italian pesto is one of my favorite asparagus recipes. It can be used in any way traditional basil pesto can be used. I love this tossed with hot pasta or as a topping for bruschetta and grilled chicken or salmon. I also like to serve this as a dip with toasted pita triangles. Yesterday I stuffed it into some chicken breasts with some fresh rocotta and breaded it and mixed it with ricotta and stuffed it into pasta shells and threw them in the freezer.

There is no real recipe here but in case you are wondering how to make the grilled cheese I buttered both sides of a home-style loaf (in this case flax seed bread), added a layer of asparagus pesto and added thinly sliced Oka cheese on top. Then I sandwiched the 2 pieces of bread together and sprinkled the outside of the sandwich with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Cook your sandwich until the outsides are browned or use a panini press. Enjoy!

** Asparagus Pesto**

Asparagus Pesto

1 lb fresh asparagus
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 large handful spinach
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest or 1 chili pepper
2 cloves garlic, mashed
½ cup olive oil
Salt to taste

Wash and peel bottoms of the asparagus. Cut each spear into 4 pieces. Bring a pan of water to a boil**. Blanch the asparagus for one minute in the boiling water and drain. Drop the asparagus into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and keep the asparagus bright green. Remove from the ice water and drain well on paper towels.

When the asparagus is dry place into a bowl of a food processor along with the spinach, cheese, walnuts, parsley, lemon zest (ir chili pepper) and garlic. Pulse until a rough paste has formed. Continue to process adding the olive oil slowly until the pesto is the desired consistency. A few drops of water can be added if it is too thick. Do not use an acid based liquid like lemon juice or wine vinegar or the green color of the pesto may darken unless added right before serving.

Remove from the food processor and place in a small bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate till serving time.

**To steam asparagus: Bring 2 inches water to boil in a large saucepan holding a steamer basket. Place trimmed asparagus on basket and bring water to a rolling boil. Cover pan and steam 8 to 10 minutes until tender.


 Makes about 2 ½ cups of pesto. Plenty to create more dishes or to freeze.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips

32 comments:

  1. Thanks for this great idea. I would never have thought of asparagus pesto.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love this pesto Val...how innovative. When spring returns I'm def going to try this. Love the melted cheese in the sandwich too!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Those grilled sandwiches are fabulous! That is a wonderful idea!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your sandwich looks amazing Val! I need to try some asparagus pesto!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Grilled cheese sounds wonderful with asparagus pesto, I love the idea!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Why not asparagus, indeed? I've made pesto with all kinds of green veg before now, but never asparagus. Looks as though I'm going to have to try!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I will remember this when I am home again but today i need to use spinach. A spinach pesto sandwich like this and a spinach soup should empty my container and keep me very happy!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Asparagus makes everything better! Sounds wonderful!
    xoxo Pattie

    ReplyDelete
  9. I hadn't thought to make pesto with anything other than basil. You are just flat out brilliant to use your excess asparagus to make pesto!

    ReplyDelete
  10. i have no idea what oka cheese is, but i would eat the holy heck outta that sandwich.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Asparagus is a few weeks late here this year due to the really cold winter - I'm going to try this pesto once it arrives. Looks fantastic

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have been loving asparagus lately but haven't yet made a pesto out of it! I love that you made a grilled cheese sandwich with it...those are the best.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a nice idea! I love asparagus and this is the time of year to indulge.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I thought I'd eaten every possible combination of pesto and pasta but asparagus pesto is a new one for me. And I love the concept. Can't wait to try it.
    P.S. Have I told you lately how nice your blog is looking?

    ReplyDelete
  15. No food tastes quite like summer to me the way pesto does. It's a fun sauce to play with too.

    Aspargus is just coming into season around here. I finally saw some local asparagus at Whole Foods today. You definitely inspired something different.

    ReplyDelete
  16. what a unique and lovely way to use asparagus! delicious work, val. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. look at that green! looks delicious...what a great way to eat pesto and kick up a grilled cheese sandwich!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I must try asparagus pesto! It's one of my favorite veggies and I can almost taste it on a cheese sandwich. What a terrific idea.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I thought I had seen all kinds of pesto and you proved me wrong! this sandwich looks delectable.

    ReplyDelete
  20. What a fantastic idea Val, I can't wait to make that pesto, sounds terrific with cheese!

    ReplyDelete
  21. As much as I love asparagus, I'm embarrassed to admit I never thought of asparagus pesto. Sounds divine, Val!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Val, pesto sounds like a great idea for the asparagus. It would be fabulous to receive 20 lbs of asparagus until you realize wow - like you said, I've got to use these right away. I too love asparagus, but only the fat ones. I think the skinny ones are tough.
    Sam

    ReplyDelete
  23. What a great way to dress up a grilled cheese sandwich...I love grilled cheese and asparagus. Lovely combination!

    ReplyDelete
  24. YUM! I first saw asparagus pesto on the 101 Cookbooks site... and it's been a favorite ever since. Never tried it on a grilled cheese, though. Brilliant. What a great way to change it up a little bit.

    ReplyDelete
  25. What a great spin on a classic sandwich.

    ReplyDelete
  26. You have no idea how happy I am to have come upon your blog. I'm off to a local farm in the a.m. to pick up asparagus. I always overbuy because we love it so. Now I will look forward to asparagus pesto for tomorrow and for the freezer as well.

    I look forward to returning to "visit".

    Best,
    Bonnie

    ReplyDelete
  27. What a clever idea....I have never made asparagus pesto before, but when they are in season is must be so refreshing to eat....melting cheese makes my knees weak!

    ReplyDelete
  28. These grilled sanwiches with the green asparagus pesto sound so good to me!!!


    MMMMMMMMMMMMM,...!!!!

    a perfect lunch!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm just back from a local farm with asparagus to make your recipe. Can't wait to have this one hand.

    Best,
    Bonnie

    ReplyDelete
  30. Brilliant idea for an old-fashioned favorite!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Oh, yes please! Don't know how I missed this recipe. Yum!

    ReplyDelete
  32. wow asparagus pesto? that sounds like a dream. thank you for the wonderful recipe!

    ReplyDelete

Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

This blog uses comment moderation therefore SPAMMERS, SELF-PROMOTERS and ADVERTISERS will be deleted.