Wednesday, June 9, 2010

World of Warcraft Cooking Guide: Crispy Lizard Tail

So here I am, working away on so many June Weddings that my head is ready to spin, but I'm still thinking of my little project here on the Crimson Coat Chef.
Then inspiration strikes!

World of Warcraft Recipe:
1 Hot spices
1 Thunder Lizard Tail

Crimson Coat Chef's recipe:
1 bunch of Asparagus
Chili flakes
Phyllo pastry
Parmesan cheese
Melted Butter
Prosciutto

First, a few basics about Asparagus.
This is a wonderful vegetable, a very good source of dietary fiber and packed with lots of vitamins and essential nutrients. Did you know that Asparagus was cultivated by the Roman's, Greeks and Egyptians?  It has a long history of being enjoyed as both a food and a medicine.
When choosing Asparagus, I suggest looking for smaller diameter stalks, especially in spring and early summer when the harvest is fresh and local(depending where you live of course). They're more tender and with a better taste than the thicker ones but don't shy away from the thicker ones either. They're still delicious.  Look for bunches with tight closed flowers on the top. For storing, keep the cut ends in water, just an inch or two will do, until you're ready to use them.

I think alot of people tend to over cook asparagus.  This is a vegetable that is at it's best when still crisp and if you over cook it, you'll also loose that beautiful bright green. Mushy Asparagus, not such a delight.

So! On to the Crispy Lizard Tails!
Look at those asparagus you've brought home, they are in fact the perfect lizard tails...without eating a lizard.
This recipe would suit as a great hors d'oeuvre, but also a great way to get fussy kids to eat their veggies.

First thing you're going to do, is snap the ends off the asparagus. There's a point, near the ground end of the asparagus where it becomes very fibrous and in large stalks, almost woody. Put your fingers about, mid way up the asparagus and at the base and bend, it will snap where that fibrous bit becomes far more tender. Discard the bottom bit. Now if you're going for a fancy dinner party here, with lizard tails, just take your vegetable peeler and lightly remove the outer skin from about the bottom half of the spear, you'll end up with a very tender spear all the way down and a better presentation.
Take a thin slice of prosciutto, sprinkle a few chili flakes on it, and wrap it around the asparagus. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with as many spears as you like, or want. Pop these in the oven and roast for 5 minutes at 425 degrees F. Roll them over, and roast for another 5 minutes.
Now you could stop right here and have a lovely side dish or fabulous Hors D'oeuvre, and still call it Crispy Lizard Tails. But, I'm going to go for one more step.
While your Asparagus is roasting, prepare you phyllo pastry. Have hot melted butter ready, and a pastry brush. Be sure to keep your phyllo covered with a damp towel while it's sitting waiting for you or it will dry out very quickly.
Lay out your first sheet of phyllo and brush it with butter, be generous, but don't have puddles of butter.
Lay a second sheet on top of the buttered first sheet. Repeat until you have 3 sheets layered. Don't butter the last sheet you lay down.
Now, your roasted asparagus spears should be done, and  cooled so you can handle them.
Cut the sheet of phyllo into rectangles, down the long direction, 3 cuts, then across once for 6 rectangles out of each.
Roll the Asparagus up in a rectangle, with the flower the only bit uncovered, seal with a little butter if you need to on the end of the phyllo. Repeat with all your asparagus and lay them out on the baking sheet again. Brush the finished wraps with melted butter as you finish them, and sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese; this will keep the phyllo from drying as you prepare all of them.
Now I found that some of the flowers would get a little too cooked, so I cut a bit of foil and tucked that over the flowers to prevent this.
Pop your completed tray of Crispy Lizard Tail's into a 425 preheated oven, and bake for 10-15 minutes until the phyllo is golden brown.
Serve warm and enjoy!

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