By Christine Szalay Kudra
Many of the vegetables we eat now are grown in Mexico. And why not? In much of the country, the climate is similar to California; the weather is temperate, and the growing conditions ideal.
Mexican restaurants here tend to overlook many vegetables, because they do not have room on the menu, and because people do not expect them. It would not make sense to buy a crate of broccoli crowns when no one will order them. That does not mean that vegetables are ignored.
Next time you are in the grocery store, sneak a peek in the shopping cart of your Spanish speaking neighbor. You will see it filled with fresh vegetables. Not just tomatoes, chilies and tomatillos either. You will see all variety of good eats.
Asparagus is a popular crop, and much of what is available in the store comes from Mexico. It is a perennial, growing from root stock and can be harvested every other day. It is healthful and delicious, and sinfully easy to cook. If you have only had asparagus boiled or out of a tin, it is time to try something different.
To make Asparagus Bundles, for each serving you will need:
- 5 Asparagus spears, the woody bottom cut off
- a slice of Prosciutto
- olive oil
- sea salt
While these can be served hot or chilled, this assumes you will be serving them hot.
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle liberally with olive oil (roll the spears around a little so they are coated evenly). Season with a little sea salt and fresh or dry rosemary (not the ground kind) Roast in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, until they are fork tender.”
Once they are done, you will need to work quickly. Lay a piece of Prosciutto on your work surface, place 5 spears in the center and wrap the meat around, tucking the ends under. Repeat until all the rolls are finished. Return to the oven until ready to serve.
While you are baking asparagus, you can also put some broccoli on the same pan, coated with the oil and a little salt, and let it cook along with it. Broccoli crowns make an attractive edible garnish, and roasting preserves the color.
Another good way to use asparagus is to make a Mexican style Fonduta. Heat prepared white queso dip and stir in chopped cooked asparagus and chopped tinned artichoke hearts. Serve with tortilla chips, or with crusty bread. Or, using the same white queso and asparagus, about 3 cups, stir in about ½ cup of beer and let it simmer until it thickens again. Serve over bread for Mexican style Welsh Rarebit.
[http://www.mexicanfoodrecipes.org/]Mexican recipes do not always mean chili and tomato sauce. By incorporating simple ingredients produced in Mexico, you can prepare [http://www.mexicanfoodrecipes.org/Mexican-Recipes/index.php#easy-mexican-recipes]easy Mexican recipes by varying the cooking technique and adding a touch of traditional seasoning.
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