This appetizer gets rave reviews every time I serve it. It’s as delicious as it is beautiful and can be made ahead of time.
- 12 spears fresh asparagus, of uniform thickness if possible
- ⅓ cup (80 g) goat cheese, softened (cream cheese can be used as well)
- Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon (.65 g) finely minced green onion (white part only)
- Salt and pepper
- 4 ounces (115 grams) thinly sliced smoked salmon
- Handful of fresh dill
- Thin lemon slices, for garnish
- Rinse asparagus spears in cool water. Snap off the woody ends at their natural breaking point. Pour a kettle full of boiling water into a heatproof dish with a lid (use a skillet if need be) large enough to hold the asparagus in a single layer. Add the asparagus and cover the dish, making sure there is enough boiling water to cover them by at least a half-inch (1.25 cm). After 8 minutes, test the asparagus for doneness by poking the tip of a sharp knife into a stem; it should be just tender. Thicker stalks may need a little more time.
- Remove the asparagus from the warm water and run it under very cold water to stop the cooking process. Place the spears on a clean towel and dry them gently.
- While asparagus cooks, stir together the goat cheese, lemon zest, juice, minced green onion, and a few pinches of salt and pepper.
- Separate the smoked salmon slices, then cut into 12 pieces about 1 inch by 2.5 inches (2.5 cm by 6.25 cm) each.
- To assemble, cut each asparagus spear in half crosswise, then lay two pieces of asparagus side by side and top with a heaping teaspoon of the goat cheese mixture, placed in the middle. Lay a sprig of dill on top of the goat cheese.
- Wrap one piece of the cut smoked salmon around the goat cheese-covered portion of the pair of asparagus pieces, folding the ends to the underside. Press gently so the salmon adheres to the cream cheese.
- Lay the first bundle on a serving platter and repeat with remaining spears.
- If not serving immediately cover the platter and refrigerate for up to 8 hours before serving.
- Immediately before serving, garnish with lemon slices.
Makes 12 rolls; recipe can easily be multiplied.
For more of Paula’s recipes, visit her website, constantlycooking.com, or tune into Paula Roy’s Favourite Foods on Rogers TV. Now in its fourth season, the show airs several times each week in Ottawa and southwestern Ontario.