When you’ve radically changed how you eat and then spend a lot of time looking for alternatives, it’s amazing how ideas can come to you. Craving the taste of pizza + not eating flour + fresh local asparagus = Pizza Asparagus Rafts!
Like most, I really look forward to the season’s first asparagus. It’s appearance really does mean that warmer weather, longer days, and lighter eating is on the way!
Once the asparagus is cooked, and here I recommend grilling, it’s a mere 20 minutes to get this to the table. It might even get non-veg eaters to eat their veg!
I was thinking about the tastes of Caprese so kept these simple – but there’s plenty of ways to embellish! Adding some ham, salami or bacon would be tasty, as would be other veg like roasted red peppers or even some olives. Basically, whatever you’d put on a pizza. Just don’t overdo it. For the kids… perhaps strips of pepperoni?!
Do be sure to line your baking pan with parchment, and you’ll be able to slide a spatula under those delicious bits of melting cheese that have tried to escape. Regarding the cheese, use mozzarella, but if you use bocconcini like I did, drain it well before. Perhaps grating or slicing it from the traditional ball of mozza would give best results!
Another reason to keep the adornments light..? In a 400° oven, these were ready in just under 10 minutes. If you put too much on top, it just won’t work. This is one of those times when less IS more. Capisci…?
This makes a great appetizer, or serve two with salad for a light, delicious & healthy meal; vegetarian if you hold the meat toppings! Buon appetito~
- 9 fresh asparagus spears, bottoms trimmed, grilled for 3 - 4 minutes (this can be done ahead)
- 3 - 4 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in halves
- 1/4 cup approx. mozzarella cheese
- Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano for sprinkling
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Turn your oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make the rafts by lining up 3 asparagus spears together.
- Top with tomato halves & mozzarella in whatever way suits your fancy, then drizzle a few drops of olive oil over top.
- Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano, a bit of salt & pepper and bake for 8 - 10 minutes, until golden bits appear and cheese is bubbly.
- Embellish with a little more grated Parmigiano and serve warm or at room temperature.
- *add bits of ham, bacon, salami, etc for meat eaters!
- ** this recipe is easily multiplied to feed more!