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Spring Cleaning Your Diet With Asparagus

Homemade Recipe - Mediterranean asparagus with Parmigiano lace

Rich in essential vitamins and minerals and low in calories, asparagus makes an ideal addition to a cleansing spring meal — be it as a side dish, salad, or in a savoury tart. In this simple recipe, we’re highlighting the sunny flavours of its Mediterranean roots: tossed in a light dressing of olive and citrus, and served with thin, lacey Parmigiano crisps and ribbons of salty Montagne ham.
With a distinctively sharp yet delicate flavour reminiscent of olives and the tart bite of lemon, asparagus is a spring table classic. A member of the lily family, asparagus — a name meaning “shoot” or “sprout” in Greek — is thought to date back 2,000 years, originating in the eastern Mediterranean. Used widely throughout ancient Greece, Rome, Syria, and Spain, the vegetable earned a regal reputation for its fine taste and medicinal value. Roman Emperor Augustus is said to have built an “Asparagus Fleet” especially to transport the vegetable. There is even a recipe for asparagus found in the Roman Apicius’ De Re Coquinaria, the world’s oldest surviving cookbook.

Here’s our favourite recipe


Ingredients (4 servings):
20 stalks of asparagus
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 slices of Montagne ham

For the dressing:

0.70 oz crushed black olives (spread)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice

For Parmigiano lace:

3.5 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated

Preparing the asparagus:

Remove the little green leaves from the tips of the asparagus stalks and trim off the tough bottom ends.
Using a peeler, slice five stalks of asparagus lengthways into long thin strips. Place in ice water and set aside in the fridge.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add sea salt and the rest of the asparagus. Let cook for 6 minutes. Transfer cooked asparagus into a bowl of ice water, then drain on a paper towel.

Parmigiano lace:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
On a baking sheet, spread out the Parmigiano cheese in a very thin layer.
Bake for about 5 min.
Let cool.


In a bowl, combine the crushed black olives, lemon juice and olive oil.

To serve:

Drain the fine slices of asparagus and toss them with half of the dressing.
Place the stalks of cooked asparagus on a plate and pour over the remaining dressing. Top with the thinly sliced asparagus ribbons and thinly sliced ham.
Finish with the Parmigiano lace.

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