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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vegan Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus with Lemon Aioli

Happy Spring!!!

V.V. has been slacking on posting lately but with good reason!  The memory card from my camera got lost (which was full of beautiful photo's of Vivacious Vegan FOOD PORN!), ATM and I moved out of our beautiful apartment (not by choice, the building is being turned into condos :( ) and are waiting to move into her house and begin renovating (new kitchen - yippee!!!), and I have two disposable cameras full of lovely pics to post with yummy vegan recipes. . . once I get them developed!   

In Winnipeg, the Spring has certainly come in like a lion (kind of like the MGM lion at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz - sort of shocking when you aren't expecting it). I love Spring! The longer daylight hours, the puddles, the warmer temperatures and also the change in my diet from the heavy, comforting, winter fare to a lighter more colourful palate of beautiful Spring veggies!

Asparagus season is at it's peak in Spring time, which means it's plentiful and inexpensive! I like fresh, in-season asparagus sauteed or grilled with a touch of good extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a touch of salt and pepper. So simple, so delicious :)  It's even wonderful sliced thinly and served raw with a light mustard vinaigrette, tossed with a little baby arugula and paper thin radish slices, maybe some minced chives while you're at it. . . I feel some inspiration for a new blog post coming on. . . !

Today's recipe is a classic appetizer application for asparagus spears, wrapped in phyllo dough and baked. It's an elegant dish perfect for s Spring time tea party. The lemon 'aioli' dip adds a bright, zingy, creaminess and an extra tough of elegance. Plus, the whole thing is SUPER simple and sure to impress!

Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus with Lemon Aioli
for the asparagus:
- 24 asparagus spears, all about the same thickness
- 12 sheets phyllo dough, thawed, cut in half lengthwise and covered with a damp tea towel
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, or Earth Balance, or veg oil
- 1 cup fine bread crumbs
for the aioli:
- 1 cup vegan mayo (I vote Vegenaise - SERIOUSLY good)
- zest and juice of one lemon (zest before juicing using a fine grater and make sure you wash the lemon really well first!)
- 1 minced garlic clove

Start by making the aioli so the flavours have a chance to become BFF's.  Simply mix together the vegan mayo, lemon zest and juice and minced garlic.  Et voila!  You can add in some minced fresh herbs like parsley or basil for a fresh, pretty touch.

To prep the asparagus spears, ensure they are washed thoroughly.  The ends of asparagus tend to be too woody and fibrous to eat so to take the end off at just the right spot, simply hold the middle of the stalk between your thumb and index finger in one hand and the end of the stalk in the aforementioned fingers of your opposite and hand bend the spear until it snaps.  It will have broken at the perfect spot :) 

Blanch the asparagus spears in boiling water for 1 - 2 minutes and then plunge them into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Pat the stalks dry with a clean tea towel.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and oil a baking sheet with your choice of grease. 

To assemble, brush a half sheet of phyllo with a pastry brush dipped in melted coconut oil, or Earth Balance or whatever you choose, sprinkle with a light coating of breadcrumbs.  Place an asparagus stem at one end of the phyllo, with the pretty tip hanging over the edge, roll up tightly, brush the outside with a little extra oil and place on the prepared baking sheet. 

Repeat with all the asparagus spears.

Bake the asparagus for about 15 min, or until the phyllo pastry is golden brown.

Serve the phyllo wrapped asparagus on a platter with the lemon aioli <3


Vivacious Vegan  

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