Prep 30 mins
Cook 20 mins
A lovely starter or canape (put out a tray of the wrapped asparagus, scatter the hazelnuts and place a bowl of the mousse in the center of the tray. From Chef Brian Price of Carroll's Creek, a waterside resturant in Annapolis. Chef Price likes a drizzle of cream sherry on this; I prefer it without. Cabrales is Spanish bleu cheese; you can substitute a bleu of your choice.
- 20 asparagus spears
- 20 slices prosciutto, paper thin
- salt and pepper
- 8 ounces cabrales cheese, at room temperature
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 1⁄2 ounces heavy cream
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cracked black pepper (or more(the pepper taste is crucial)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup hazelnuts (or almonds or macadamias)
- For the asparagus:.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil; fill a bowl with ice water. Wash and snap off the ends of the asparagus.
- Place asparagus in the boiling water and cook until tender, about two or three minutes.
- Immediately submerge asparagus in ice water; when thoroughly chilled, remove from icee bath, pat dry and season with salt and pepper.
- Wrap proscuitto slices around the asparagus (don't over do--the ham should complement th asparagus, not overwhelm it).
- For the Mousse:.
- Put the cheeses, cream, pepper and honey in food processor and pulse until everything is incorporated and smoothly whipped.
- Lightly toast the nuts in a 300 degree F oven.
- Assemble the dish by attractively stacking five of the asparagus on each of four serving plates. Spoon mousse around the stalks. Sprinkle with hazelnuts.