More Valentines Day Fare: Portobello Fries and Roasted Asparagus

12 Feb

So, you’ve read my previous post on appetizers for you and your intended, and you said to yourself, ” But CC, I want to have at least some veggies to offer my lover, or Hey CC; I don’t eat meat! Sure you do, just not of the four-legged variety 😉

Try these two appetizers that can be prepped ahead of time and served in the most intimate of surroundings. Remember, all of the appetizers in my  Valentine’s Day series should be finger food, designed to be fed to one another. Have fun with these appetizers. Tomorrow, I will put up some dessert ideas for you so you can surprise your main squeeze with your culinary prowess as well as, er,  umm, you get the picture!

Portobello Mushroom “Fries” ( serves two)

2-3 portobello mushroom caps

1/2 cup flour

1/4 tp. salt

dash ground pepper

1 egg slightly beaten with 2 Tbl. cold water

3/4  cup seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup  grated Parmesan cheese

Vegetable oil for frying

Wipe portobello mushrooms with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt from the top of the caps, DO  NOT CLEAN WITH RUNNING WATER, OR SUBMERGE UNDER WATER. Mushrooms cleaned in this manner are like sponges and will retain water, and will spatter uncontrollably when frying.

Season flour with the salt and pepper and place on a plate.  Take bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, mix together and place in a  large Ziploc bag.  Crack egg, blend with the water and place in a bowl.

Cut mushrooms into 3-5 large finger-sized pieces, depending on the size of the caps ( think western fry size). Roll mushrooms in flour one at a time , shaking off excess and set aside. Dip slices in egg, shaking off excess egg, then throw mushroom slice in ziploc bag, close and shake thoroughly.  Check mushrooms for any bare spots, and if any bare flour spots appear, dip bare end in egg again, then in bread crumbs. Repeat with each slice until well coated. Refrigerate “fries” for twenty minutes or more to set breading.

In large cast-iron skillet, heat up two inches of oil over medium high heat to 360° , or throw a piece of bread into the oil. If it sizzles instantly, the oil is ready. Remove test bread, and CAREFULLY add the fries, a few at a time and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

If frying for a party, fry in batches and keep warm in a 250° oven on a cookie sheet with paper towels

Roasted Asparagus

1 bunch fresh asparagus, medium

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon

Heat a cookie sheet in  a 400° oven until hot. Wash asparagus and pat dry. Trim off wooden end ( about one inch) off each spear; then with a potato peeler, peel off outer layer of skin from the bottom half of the asparagus. Toss asparagus in 2-3 tbl of olive oil, salt and pepper. Using an oven mitt, remove tray from oven, dump spears onto the hot tray, and quickly arrange in a single layer. Place tray in oven and cook for 5-6 minutes. Shake tray to turn asparagus, and cook doe an additional 3 minutes, or until slightly browned and tender. Remove from oven and squeeze lemon over the spears, toss and serve hot or warm with good-quality balsamic vinegar.

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