Party invitations are starting to maraud my inbox; leaving the morning after Halloween and arriving home in mid-November, it’s suddenly time to look at the calendar and check off dates for parties and cookie exchanges (maybe another this year?) and all the fun stuff that leads up to Christmas, and think about all the baking there is to be done, and dream up food that can be eaten with your fingers. (For the aforementioned party, of course.)
Since Christmas is in Six! Weeks! I thought I’d post 12 days of holiday-inspired recipes (cliché I know, but there’s no way around it) – two each week: breakfasty things and gifty things and cocktail party things, and then give a fun kitchen toy away each Friday. Deal? And Wednesday’s recipe will hint at the giveaway on Friday. Fun and games! This particular recipe counts as party food and brunch food. Double whammy.
I know asparagus season is long gone, but these are really crazy tasty, the perfect combination of gooey-salty-crunchy, and can be assembled ahead and finished up in the oven or skillet or on the grill in a few minutes. Every December our Christmas party theme is polyester and cheese – wear polyester, bring cheese – and we wind up with a dining room table practically buckling under the weight of all the dairy products. Besides chunks of cheese, cheese balls and baked brie, there’s usually a batch or two of homemade cheese crackers and maybe some feta marinated in garlicky olive oil. This year I’ll splint spears of asparagus with long chunks of queso fresco, held in place with a piece of tacky prosciutto, which holds everything tightly in place as it cooks.
All three components of these little tasties go well with balsamic – a dribble of balsamic reduction is never a bad idea (not too much if you’re eating with your fingers), or for something really indulgent, mix up a batch of hollandaise – maybe with pepper and Pecorino? Thick enough for dipping, or dribbling overtop if these wind up on a platter for brunch.
London Drugs has offered up prizes for our holiday series, and so I browsed the kitchen appliances aisle for some things Santa might bring those of us who like to cook. An indoor grill would work well for these – I don’t have one, but if you’re not the type to pull on your boots and trudge outside to fire up the snowy barbecue, it might be worth adding to your wish list.