Over the years, many of my trips to visit family in Germany have taken place in October. One thing that I recall during these trips is my dad, an amazing cook, creating magic with white asparagus that comes into season this month. So when I came across white asparagus in our local Whole Foods store, I was in heaven. So I bought some. But then I got home and had no idea what to do with it. Then fate stepped in.
Later that day I was waiting for my son Calvin to get out of school and was rummaging around the car for something to read. I found a local newspaper that was a few weeks old. As I was flipping through it, I came across the following recipe and tried it out that night. My sister and her friend from Germany paid a visit to us a few weeks back. It would have been wonderful to have been able to make this for them and to get their rating. But timing did not work out. So, if I must say so myself (plus Patrick my husband and Calvin my son did in fact concur), this is an amazingly scrumptious dish. So celebrate your own little Oktoberfest, grab a glass of German white wine and say “Prost!” (that’s German for “Cheers!”).
WHITE ASPARAGUS WITH BLACK FOREST HAM
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup basic olive oil and vinegar dressing
4 ripe round or plum tomatoes, skinned
4 large, fresh basil leaves, torn in shreds
8 wafer-thing slices of Black Forest ham
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Trim the bases of the asparagus and peel with a swivel vegetable peeler. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil and drop in the spears. Simmer for 3 minutes only. Have a large bowl of iced water at the ready. Using a large slotted spoon, lift out the asparagus spears carefully. Place immediately into the iced water and leave for 5 minutes, then carefully drain in a colander.
Slice the avocado and mix gently with a third of the dressing. Season well. Slice the tomatoes thinly and season. Allow to stand for 10 minutes, then drizzle with another third of the dressing and mix in the basil.
Arrange 2 slices of ham on four large plates, Divide the asparagus, tomato, and avocado between the plates. Drizzle the last of the dressing over the asparagus and scatter with the chives. Season with coarsely ground black pepper and serve.