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Asparagus Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Makes8 servings
  • Active time: 25 min
    Total time: 45 min
Dried porcini give this vinaigrette a huge boost of flavor and marry beautifully with the asparagus and goat cheese for a spring-like first course. Serve this dish with sharp knives (like steak knives) so the toast and asparagus cut easily.
Published in Gourmet Live 04.06.11

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing
  • 2 bunches (2 pounds) green asparagus (not pencil), ends trimmed to 6 inches
  • 8 ounces fresh goat cheese, softened
  • 8 (1/2-inch thick) slices good quality bread, such as pain de mie, pullman or sourdough, crusts trimmed

INSTRUCTIONS:

Make Vinaigrette:

  • Put dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let stand 20 minutes. Pour mushrooms with liquid through a paper towel-lined sieve into a small saucepan. Transfer mushrooms to a cutting board and finely chop. Add vinegar, shallots, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and half of mushrooms to saucepan and boil mixture until it is reduced to 2/3 cup, about 10 minutes. Whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Sauce can be served warm or at room temperature.

Make Bruschetta:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in upper third.
  • Stir together remaining chopped mushrooms with softened goat cheese in a small bowl.
  • Place a steamer basket in a 5-quart pot filled with 2 inches of water. Steam asparagus, covered, just until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer asparagus to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking, then drain and pat dry.
  • Halve asparagus crosswise.
  • Arrange bread slices on a large baking sheet. Brush with some olive oil and bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Spread goat cheese mixture generously on toasts.
  • To serve, place a toast in the center of a salad plate and arrange 4 or 5 stem ends of asparagus on each. Top stems with asparagus tips, arranging them perpendicular to stems. Drizzle asparagus and surrounding plate with vinaigrette.

COOKS’ NOTES:

  • Porcini vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead and kept at room temperature, covered.
  • Asparagus can be cooked 1 day ahead and kept chilled in a sealable plastic bag between towels. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  • Goat cheese mixture can be made 1 day ahead kept covered and chilled. Bring to room temperature before using.
  • Bread can be toasted 2 hours ahead and spread with cheese mixture up to 1 hour before serving.
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