Friday, May 11, 2012

Ham, Asparagus, and Fontina Bruschetta

We've got another Mother's Day treat for you: crunchy bread topped with chopped smokey ham, asparagus, and fontina cheese. Aside from watching carefully as the cheese melts in the broiler, this is an easy appetizer or light lunch. It is certainly an elegant combination. The first time Sharon and I had this dish was as the appetizer in a multi-course Italian dinner. Cooked by our Italian friends, this was the real deal. It's a little pricier than many of our dishes, but isn't Mom worth it? With a green salad, this would be a lovely lunch to share with her.

Ham, Asparagus, and Fontina Bruschetta
Serves 4 as appetizer, 2 for main dish
Total cost $6.00

4 oz. smoked deli ham, the best you can afford
4 oz. Fontina cheese
3-4 asparagus spears
8 slices Artisan bread (½ to 1” thick)

Finely chop the ham. You can do this in a food processor, but a knife works just as well (and gives you a chance to practice your knife skills). Grate the Fontina with a box grater, using the largest holes. Cut off the woody stems of the asparagus and cut them into 2” pieces. Steam the asparagus either with a steamer in a pot with 1” of boiling water or in the microwave by placing them in a glass dish with ¼“ of water. Cover with plastic wrap, folding over one corner, so it leaves a vent for the steam. Microwave for 3-4 minutes on high. Toast the slices of bread in a toaster. Then, place the toasted bread in an oven-proof dish or broiler pan. Carefully spoon the chopped ham onto the bread, then place 2 pieces of asparagus on top of the ham and sprinkle the cheese over that. Broil the bruschetta for about 5 minutes. The cheese and/or the bread can easily burn, so don’t walk away from the oven during this step and check it every minute or so.

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