Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday Sammiches: Roasted Asparagus & Onion Panini

Spring has sprung. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself now that U.S. asparagus has shown up in the market.

Asparagus is one of the seasonal crops that we eat with gusto for a short time, and then relinquish at the end of the season -- so "asparagussed-out" that we are happy to have a long reprieve. Like the tomatoes of August, we crave them for months, eat them with abandon, and walk away from them when June hits.

At this time of the year, I really ought to start the countdown for fresh WI asparagus. After all, local produce offers so many benefits... but, I can't help myself. It's hard to resist when my winter palate starts to salivate over their crisp, green stalks. So, I have a tendency to break down and buy a few rounds of California spears.

I thought the first asparagus spears of the season deserved a special treatment, so Peef and I put our heads together. A sammich was probably the last thing on our minds, but then it occurred to us that a ham & swiss with asparagus might be seriously good. And why not make the sammich less about the ham and more about the asparagus while we were at it?? Peef agreed that the concept sounded good, so we got to work.

We happened to have a couple of light, fluffy Telera rolls on hand, along with some local gruyere, which I thought would make a nice match for the asparagus.
We chopped the asparagus into 2-3 inch pieces, and tossed it with some thinly sliced onion.And I made a lemon vinaigrette of sorts with a bit of lemon juice, some zest, a bit of olive oil, and some melted butter.
We tossed the vinaigrette with the asparagus & onions...
... and then threw everything into a hot oven to roast for 15-20 minutes.
Then we set to work on the sammiches -- first placing a few thin slices of gruyere on each bun...
Then, adding the ham...
We spread the top of the bun with a bit of basil pesto, and added a slice of regular Swiss cheese (for a bit of creaminess).
At this point, we closed the sammich up and threw her on the panini grill for a few minutes until the cheese got all nice and gooey.
We opened her back up again (you'll note the cheesy goodness all intermingling with the pesto and ham. yeeeum.)
And we loaded on the asparagus and onions.
This was going to be one happy little sammich.
Turned out to be kinda purty too, with a majority of the asparagus spears lining up for their photo op.
Seriously, these were some great sammiches. The Telera buns were the perfect texture -- soft in the middle, but crisp on the outside, and not too heavy so that they overwhelmed the asparagus. The cheese was creamy and flavorful. The asparagus was fresh and tender (NOT stringy) -- and the onions were ultra sweet from being roasted. The lemon gave everything a burst of freshness, while the basil pesto brought forward a great herbal note. Surprisingly, although the ham was a nice touch, I'd venture a guess that these would be just as amazing as a vegetarian sammich.

Like "spring in a bun."
Try 'em for yourself!!

Roasted Asparagus & Onion Panini (with or without ham)


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33 comments:

  1. gosh that looks good. Isn't it exciting when a food is back in season?! I was so happy to see asparagus back!

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  2. Oh, wow. Roasted lemon veg goodness on a crusty bread sammy spread with pesto? Yes.

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  3. The bread and everything in between looks awesome. I'll be spending next Sunday in WI, you have room for little old me right? The problem is I eat a lot so I wear out my welcome quick.

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  4. That looks like an amazing panini - I've been cooking a lot with asparagus lately.

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  5. That looks mad good. I actually just got some asparagus, I'm going to have to do something fun with it.

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  6. One happy little sammich and one happy little eater! That sandwich looks DELICIOUS!

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  7. I have never put asparagus on a panini before. Great idea.

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  8. Mmmm. I'll take mine sans ham -- but it looks like spring to me! We're not seeing much in our markets yet (our local farmer's markets won't really open back up for another two months still)but my seeds are sprouting in their indoor trays and the hyacinths are pushing up outside and I can suddenly remember the taste of all that fresh food. Looking forward to the first crowns of asparagus! Thanks for the recipe.

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  9. Wow, yum. That melted cheese looks amazing.

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  10. That sandwich looks excellent! I love the picture with all that cheesy goodness! Yum!

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  11. I love asparagus and your "spring in a bun" looks delicious!

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  12. Spring in a bun! Crunch crunch and munch munch.

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  13. Looks like you had fun coming up with these. I loved seeing those nicely-dark edges on the onions. Yummy.

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  14. I'm glad the asparagus behaved so nicely for their photo shoot!

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  15. This sounds terrific - a real meal of a sandwich! Asparagus was on sale for $0.99/lb last week so we enjoyed some too. :-)

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  16. OK, super YUM! We won't be getting decent asparagus in the markets for a while, but when we do I'll give this a shot.

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  17. Ok I have to start reading your blog during the day instead of 10pm cause you make me so darn hungry! I can't wait to see what you make with all the fresh produce of the spring and summer!

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  18. I'm a huge fan of asparagus, and I must say that the idea of roasting them in the oven never occurred to me---yum!

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  19. That sammich (ok, I have to ask; why is this a sammich and not a sandwich? Keep in mind that English is not my mother language so maybe I am missing something...:) ) looks absolutely delicious!! I can just imagine the taste of the crispy asparagus with the soft cheese...

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  20. Mmm...I'm a sucker for a good grilled sammie! This one looks delightful, particularly because you can put Gruyere on anything and I'm a fan. And I mean anything. Truly.

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  21. Junglefrog - "Sammich" is just some silly American slang -- misuse of the word sandwich, if I'm totally honest. Totally colloquial :)

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  22. Wow that melty gruyere looks incredible. I'm not much of sandwich fan but this looks delicious!

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  23. Aha... thanks for explaining that Sammich terms to me... :)

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  24. Oh man, look at that! That's my kind of sandwich! I love panini.

    My favorite picture is the cheesy one. You captured that perfectly.

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  25. Your sammich looks amazing!! So delicious with all those fabulous flavors.

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  26. Wow, that really is genius! I am amazed! I love everything about this!

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  27. Lo! I think its best if I just move in with you!

    Everything you cook just looks sooooo good!

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  28. MMMMMMMMM....this is a super yummie sandwich!!!!! I just love everything about it!!!!

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  29. Please, please tell me that yummy looking bread is gluten-free. Please? Okay, I'll get a grip. That photo of the bread and cheese is beautiful. Seriously, that's a great photo. This sounds wonderful and I can manage to adapt it to my eating habits. Good idea with the asparagus, onions, and cheese. Very creative.

    By the way, I love my tomatoes and used them making spaghetti last night. Thank you again!

    As always, I love visiting your blog!
    Melissa

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  30. I recently had a wrap with asparagus on it and it was such a unique taste, I loved it, I imagine this sandwich is probably even better!

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  31. Oooh, this is making me one hungry Mamatouille! :)

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  32. holy cow!!! can i have that melted goodness for dinner?? pretty please :)

    thanks for visiting my blog!

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