with Spring Vegetables
Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Wine Suggestion: Eroica Riesling
12c day old bread crusts removed, ½ in cubes
1/2c melted butter
3/4c finely grated parmesan cheese
2c English Peas, blanched until tender and refreshed
1c green onions, thinly sliced
2c baby spinach
1 small head radicchio, julienned
2c fresh mozzarella, ½ inch dice
1/2c basil, chopped
2 oz red wine vinegar
Juice from 1 lemon
6-8 oz extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the bread cubes and toss to coat with the butter. Transfer the bread to a baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and toss again while warm to melt the cheese. Bake the croutons, stirring once or twice, until they are crisp and lightly colored on the outside but still soft within, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool. Can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container.
Holding an asparagus spear in both hands, bend the spear until it breaks naturally at the point where the spear becomes tough. Discard the tough end. Repeat with the remaining asparagus. Cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus pieces and cook briefly, just until they lose their raw taste. Transfer to ice water to refresh. When the asparagus is cold, transfer it to paper towel to drain.
In a large bowl, combine the croutons, asparagus, peas, green onion, spinach, radicchio, mozzarella and basil. Toss with the vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.