by Jane Rodmell for All The Best Fine Foods, a ‘Certified Good Food Fighter

We’re about to enter our third week of celebrations at All The Best as we say ‘thank you’ to our customers who have stayed with us through four long years of construction. Come visit us for a taste extravaganza, take in a demo, meet the experts and take home your favourite treats at special prices.

Throughout the month take the opportunity to taste many fabulous extra-virgin olive oils. Each one has distinctive characteristics depending on the variety of olive, the terroir in which the olives are grown, the methods of cultivation and production and the ripeness of the fruit when the oil is pressed. Among the oils we feature is Ilove, an ultra premium, extra- virgin olive oil produced from olives grown in groves in Martinborough, the wine village situated in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand.

The Ilove olive oil’s intense fruity flavour is perfect to use in making basil pesto, seafood pasta, a salad of strong-tasting leaves like arugula and it adds deliciousness to grilled or steamed vegetables. Try it drizzled over grilled asparagus as in our recipe below.

Grilled Asparagus with Shallots, Lemon & Prosciutto

Choose uniform stalks of asparagus of medium thickness for grilling, since puny stalks do not retain texture and juiciness when cooked over the coals. Enjoy as part of an antipasta platter, as a side dish or salad.

2 lbs (1 kg) asparagus, trimmed
3 tbsp + 1 tsp (45 m+5 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt
2 slices prosciutto, cut into slivers
Freshly ground black pepper
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) finely slivered lemon zest
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste

Toss asparagus stalks with 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil and season lightly with salt. Grill until tender and nicely charred, turning over the coals every few minutes to cook and brown evenly, 6 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of the stalks.

In a small skillet, heat 1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil.  Add prosciutto and sauté until lightly browned and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

Transfer asparagus to a platter and sprinkle with shallot, lemon zest and prosciutto. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and season with pepper and lemon juice to taste. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Variation: Omit prosciutto and add a garnish of shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. Replace lemon juice with a dash of aged Balsamic vinegar.

Serves 6

Come join the celebrations.

All the best and thanks again,