Why are the simplest dishes often the best? Here, a few fine ingredients lift this sandwich from the "something on toast" category to a special treat. It makes a delightful, balanced light lunch when fresh asparagus is in season.
200 g asparagus, trimmed and halved lengthways
¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
250 g cherry tomatoes
1 ciabatta loaf, sliced on the diagonal into 12 pieces
1 garlic clove, halved
50 g baby rocket
65 g prosciutto, torn into small pieces
¼ cup (25 g) shaved Parmesan cheese
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Preheat a cast-iron ridged grill pan. Brush the asparagus spears with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper, then place in the pan with the cherry tomatoes. Grill for about 8 minutes, turning a few times, until tender and lightly charred. Remove and keep warm. (If you don't have a ridged grill pan, cook the vegetables on a rack under a preheated medium grill.)
Place the ciabatta slices on the grill pan and brown lightly on both sides. Rub the cut sides of the garlic over one side of each slice of toast, then arrange the toast on a large serving plate.
Divide the rocket among the toasts and top with the asparagus and prosciutto and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with the remaining oil and scatter the parmesan shavings over each piece. Serve three pieces per serving.
1½ portions vegetables
Keep the stems of the asparagus spears to flavour a stock, or use in soups or risottos.