Monday, January 8, 2007

Fun and Hearty Bites for Tonight's BCS Championship

If you will be watching tonight's game at home, why not make a couple of easy, filling appetizers and enjoy with a bottle of wine or two, perhaps in lieu of the usual beer, chips and other typical game fare. (If you are going out for the game, check out Cityguide's 2007 nominees for the area's best sports bar - The action starts after 8pm eastern time, so after a quick trip to the market, turn on the pre-game and relax at home with a glass of wine while you prepare the snacks.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus with Balsamic and Parmesan
8 ounces of prosciutto
12 ounces of asparagus spears
1/2 cup aged balsamic vinegar, or 1 cup of everyday balsamic vinegar reduced by one-half in a saucepan cooked on medium heat
Kosher or sea salt
Black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Trim the ends of each asparagus spear by bending each stalk and letting it break naturally. Microwave the spears on high heat for approximately 4 to 5 minutes, or until the stalks are firm but tender on the inside. Dunk the spears in a bowl of ice water to arrest the cooking and let sit in the water for about 30 seconds. Dry the spears on a kitchen towel. Wrap each stalk of asparagus with a slice of prosciutto, starting on one end and working up to the opposite side. For thinner or shorter stalks, use half a slice of prosciutto. Arrange the wrapped strips in a wheel sort of fashion on a large plate or serving platter. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle the balsamic over the asparagus and srinkle with the Parmesan.

Parmesan Pita Crisps
6 to 8 mini whole wheat pita breads
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of kosher or sea salt
1 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut each pita bread in half horizontally. In a small bowl, cream the butter with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Add the parsley, garlic, rosemary, oregano, nutmeg, cayenne and salt and mix well. Spread the mixture across each pita round. Sprinkle the top of each evenly with a heaping tablespoon of the cheese. Transfer to a large baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. (The strips will continue to crisp as they cool.) Serve with sliced carrots and celery and your favorite hummus, baba ghanouj or tzatziki dip. Delicious with a light- to medium-bodied red wine, such as a Pinot Noir or Malbec.

Marinara Chicken Wings
1 dozen chicken wings or 2 dozen drumettes
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dred oregano
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (to taste)
3 or 4 large basil leaves, finely chopped, for garnish
1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If using whole wings, disjoint wings and remove tips so you have 24 drumettes. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with oil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, salt and pepper. Arrange on a rack in a baking pan. Roast chicken until done, about 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl combine the marinara sauce, hot sauce, Italian seasoning, oregano and remaining garlic powder. When wings are done, remove from the oven, and toss wings with half the sauce. Leave oven on. Return wings to oven for 10 minutes more. Sprinkle the wings with parsley and basil, and serve with the remaining sauce on the side to dip the wings into. A side of your favorite ranch dressing is a nice complement as well. Delicious with a hearty red wine such as a Cabernet or Syrah.

1 comment:

Sonadora said...

Parmesean Crisps sound delicious. I will have to try those next time we have people over.