Serves 4.

Note: From the Los Angeles Times.

• 2 oz. Parmesan, grated

• Generous 1/3 c. walnut halves

• 1 lb. medium asparagus

• 1/4 lb. white mushrooms

• 1 tbsp. minced chives

• 2 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 tbsp. lemon juice

• Salt


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicon sheet or parchment paper. Spoon the grated Parmesan in 1-tablespoon mounds on the sheet and press lightly to flatten. Bake until the cheese is melted and browned, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

When the Parmesan crisps are done, place the walnuts on the baking sheet and bake until toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove and cool.

Shave the asparagus: Lay a stalk flat on the cutting board, holding it at the base. Starting at about where the pale base turns green, use a vegetable peeler to shave the stalk in long, even strips all the way through the tip. When you've gotten about halfway through the stalk, turn it over and start on the other side. When you reach the point that the peeler will no longer shave the spear, rest the spear on top of the flat handle of a wooden spoon to elevate it and take the last two or three strips. You can either discard what remains or save it to make an asparagus soup.

Trim the bottoms of the stems from the mushrooms so they'll sit flat on the work surface. Using a very sharp knife, slice the mushrooms as thin as you can.

Combine the asparagus shavings, mushrooms and walnuts in a large mixing bowl, and toss gently.

Place the minced chives in the bottom of a small bowl and cover with the olive oil. Add the lemon juice and one-half teaspoon salt, and whisk until smooth. Pour all but a teaspoon or so of this dressing over the asparagus mixture and toss gently with your hands to lightly coat. Add the rest of the vinaigrette, a little at a time, as necessary. Season with salt to taste.

Arrange the salad on a platter, and crack the Parmesan crisps over the top in large pieces. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 190 Fat 16 g Sodium 525 mg

Carbohydrates 5 g Saturated fat 4 g Calcium 190 mg

Protein 9 g Cholesterol 10 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 medium-fat meat, 2 fat.

Asparagus Wrapped in Crisp Prosciutto

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: From the Los Angeles Times.

1 lb. asparagus, medium thickness (about 16 spears)

1/2 lb. prosciutto, sliced medium-thin, about 16 slices from the smaller end

• 1 tbsp. olive oil


Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut off bottom 1 to 1 1/2 inches of asparagus spears and, if the spears are thick, peel them. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each spear spiraling upward, with the fatty stripe of the ham at the bottom so it creates a barber pole effect up the spear.

Line a jellyroll pan with aluminum foil and smear it lightly with the olive oil. Arrange wrapped spears in the pan and place in the oven. After 5 minutes, shake pan vigorously to turn the spears. Roast another 5 minutes and shake again. Roast until asparagus is very tender and prosciutto is somewhat crisp, about 15 minutes total. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 86 Fat 6 g Sodium 300 mg

Carbohydrates 2 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 12 mg

Protein 7 g Cholesterol 19 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 medium-fat meat.

Asparagus With Breadcrumb-Fried Eggs

Serves 2.

Note: Adapted from "The Zuni Cafe Cookbook," by Judy Rodgers.

• 1/2 to 3/4 lb. asparagus

• Olive oil

• Salt

• 1/4 c. fresh breadcrumbs

• A few leaves fresh thyme

• 2 eggs

• Freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. red wine or sherry vinegar


Prepare asparagus: If it is thin, simply cut off the bases. If it is thicker than a No. 2 pencil, cut off the bases and peel, starting at the tips with light pressure and gradually increasing the pressure as you work your way down the stalk until you're pressing quite firmly at the base.

In a tightly sealed pot over rapidly boiling water, steam asparagus until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes for thin asparagus, 4 to 5 minutes for thick. Drain, pat dry, dress lightly with 1 tablespoon oil, season with a pinch of salt and keep warm.

Place breadcrumbs in bowl. Season lightly with salt and thyme leaves and then add enough oil to generously coat, about 1 tablespoon.

Transfer breadcrumbs to a small nonstick skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to darken. When they have fried enough that they feel dry when you stir them, 2 to 3 minutes, divide them into 2 equal batches and pat to make a thin layer.

Crack eggs over breadcrumbs. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, cover tightly and cook eggs until they're as done as you like (they are best with the yolks left runny; if you prefer over easy, you can flip them).

Place half the asparagus on each of two warm plates. When eggs are done, drape one egg over each asparagus bundle. Add the vinegar to the empty pan and let it sizzle for a moment before drizzling over the eggs. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 225 Fat 19 g Sodium 230 mg

Carbohydrates 5 g Saturated fat 4 g Calcium 54 mg

Protein 8 g Cholesterol 190 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1vegetable, 1 medium-fat meat, 3 fat.

Asparagus and Shrimp Risotto

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: For asparagus stock, reserve cooking liquid from other preparations. From the Los Angeles Times.

• 3/4 lb. thin asparagus

1/2 c. minced onion (save the scraps from the onion for stock)

• 1/4 lb. shell-on shrimp

5 c. water or reserved asparagus stock (see Note)

• 3 tbsp. butter, divided

• 1 1/2 c. Arborio rice

• 1/4 c. dry white wine

• Salt

2 tbsp. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

• 2 tbsp. snipped fresh chives


Cut off the bottom 1 to 1 1/2 inches of asparagus spears. Thinly slice bottoms and add them to a large saucepan along with the trimmings from the minced onion. Shell the shrimp and add the shells to the saucepan. Cover with at least 5 cups water or asparagus stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook at least 30 minutes to make a mild stock.

Cut away the very tips of the asparagus. Chop the shrimp in 1/2 inch pieces and add them to the asparagus tips. Slice remaining parts of asparagus in 1/4 inch rounds.

Cook asparagus rounds, 2 tablespoons butter and onion in large skillet over medium heat until onion softens but does not turn color, about 5 minutes.

Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until all kernels are opaque, about 3 minutes. Add wine and stir until it evaporates. Ladle about 1 1/2 cups simmering stock through a strainer into rice and cook, stirring, until it evaporates. When bottom of pan is almost dry, add an additional 1/2 to 3/4 cup and repeat.

Keep cooking this way, adding more stock as needed, until rice begins to swell and become tender. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and reserved chopped shrimp and asparagus tips, and continue cooking until rice kernels are swollen and completely tender. Do not cook mixture dry; the final texture should be somewhat soupy with slightly thickened liquid. This will take about 20 to 25 minutes in all.

Remove skillet from heat and add remaining tablespoon butter, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and chives. Vigorously stir these into risotto. The liquid will thicken even more. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Spoon into hot shallow bowls and serve immediately.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 250 Fat 7 g Sodium 770 mg

Carbohydrates 40 g Saturated fat 4 g Calcium 63 mg

Protein 7 g Cholesterol 36 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2½ bread/starch, 1½ fat.