Asparagus season is here brought to you by the fact that it is finally Spring in Australia! That means this is about the time I share with you a great recipe featuring asparagus. This is all thanks to a delivery of new season asparagus from Aussie Asparagus.
In previous years I’ve brought you baked eggs in tomato sugo with asparagus and an asparagus and smoked salmon tart. So this year I’m trying something a little different – a savory panna cotta. I can safely say that this is now my all time favourite asparagus recipe with an asparagus and ricotta panna cotta featuring and almond and bacon crumb base.
You are probably looking at these babies and thinking that they look complicated. Let me assure you that the finished panna cotta look a hellovalot more difficult than they are to make – and isn’t that always the best kind of dish.
These delicious light green beauties are both delicate and light and scream ‘spring is here’ with every mouthful. The kicker though is the almond and bacon crumb the sits on the base of the panna cotta. It ads a delicious salty nuttiness that pairs perfectly with the asparagus and ricotta panna cotta.
While you can make these babies with or without the almond bacon crumb, I recipe tested them with and without and the resounding agreement was that it was definitely better with the bacon crumb.
I used fluted tupperware molds that have both a removable top and bottom (so that the panna cotta slides out easily) but you can just as easily make these with metal dariole moulds. Alternatively, you can place the bacon crumb at the bottom of a ramekin and top with the asparagus panna cotta mixture, serving it in the ramekin to eliminate the need to unmold, or even do the same in a stemless wine glass – whatever works for you.
Either way, this is an incredible way to enjoy fresh asparagus and is a pretty impressive entree if you have friends coming over.
Asparagus and Ricotta Panna Cotta with Bacon and Almond Crumb
Bacon and Almond Crumb
- 1/4 cup almond meal
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 50g bacon, minced
Asparagus and Ricotta Panna Cotta
- 2 bunches mini asparagus spears, steamed till tender
- 1 cup ricotta
- Zest 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 and 1/4 cup cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 and 1/2 titanium strength gelatine leaves
BACON AND ALMOND CRUMB
Melt butter in a small frypan over low heat. Add almond meal and cook, stirring constantly for 5-6 minutes until golden and toasted. Transfer to a small bowl and add salt. Wipe pan with a paper towel and return to a low heat. Add the bacon and cook for 5-6 minutes until golden then add to the bowl with the almond and stir until well combined.
Divide the almond and bacon mixture between 6 jelly molds (or ramekins if not planning to serve unmolded) and press it down with a spoon or small shot glass base until it evenly covers the base of the molds. Set aside.
ASPARAGUS AND RICOTTA PANNA COTTA
Meanwhile in a shallow bowl, cover the gelatine leaves with water to soften for 5 minutes. Once softened, remove the leaves making sure you squeeze out the excess water, then add them to the cream mixture and stir well until all the gelatine has dissolved.
Once dissolved, pour the panna cotta mixture through a sieve (to make sure no gelatine remains) and into the ricotta mixture. Stir well till combined and transfer the whole mixture to a pouring jug. Carefully and evenly transfer the mixture to the molds or ramekins.
Cover the moulds and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours (and up to 3 days). Once set unmold (or leave in ramekins) and serve with reserved asparagus tops.