Photography by Emily Caruso
After a long season of root vegetables and winter squash, the vegetable I most look forward to in springtime is asparagus. It lends itself naturally to being a side dish, but we don’t eat many main dish/side dish types of meals, so I’m always looking for ways to incorporate asparagus into things like pasta, pizza, sandwiches, and meal bowls. These melts are the current favorite in our household.
Smitten Kitchen’s Broccoli Melts have been on my menu frequently because they’re easy and delicious and then, as usually happens with much-loved recipes, it started taking other permutations. Melts are good for that! Broccoli became cauliflower and cauliflower became mushrooms and then springtime came and asparagus got added to the mix.
I should mention that these are incredibly easy—shallots, mushrooms, and asparagus are sautéed and then spooned onto toasts and topped with cheese. The asparagus is only lightly cooked, until tender-crisp, because there’s nothing sadder than mushy, olive green asparagus. You could certainly make these into traditional sandwiches or panini instead of open-faced melts, but I like them this way because the cheese gets nicely browned under the broiler.
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