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Artichoke, Asparagus and Prosciutto Crostini

Artichoke, Asparagus and Prosciutto Crostini
Susan Russo for NPR /

This appetizer celebrates the flavors of spring with sauteed fresh artichoke hearts and tender asparagus. With so few ingredients, the flavors truly stand out, so a trip to a local Italian deli for prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano is worthwhile.

Makes 4 servings


2 artichokes, stems and leaves discarded

1 lemon

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 asparagus stalks, trimmed, cut in half, then sliced lengthwise (16 pieces total)

4 slices prosciutto, sliced in half

Several shavings Parmigiano-Reggiano

8 (1-ounce) toasted baguette slices


2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

A pinch of lemon zest (less than 1/4 teaspoon)

5 to 6 cranks freshly ground black pepper

Salt, to taste

To make the vinaigrette, whisk all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

For the crostini, fill a medium bowl with water and the juice of 1 lemon. Cut off the stem and rough base of the artichoke and the top two-thirds of the leaves. Snap off all of the remaining outer leaves. Using a small spoon, scrape out the fuzzy choke, until the cavity is smooth. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the artichoke heart and place in the bowl of lemon water, which will prevent it from oxidizing, or turning brown. Repeat with second artichoke.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Remove artichoke heart slices from the lemon water and pat dry. Add to the skillet and saute 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly brown and crispy. Add the asparagus, and saute an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place 8 toasted bread slices on a platter, top each with a half a slice of prosciutto, 3 to 4 slices of artichoke hearts, 1 to 2 shavings of cheese, then two asparagus slices. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.

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