This recipe incorporates asparagus as a major component and but is definitely not all about asparagus as it shares the stage with a crab and shrimp mixture and sauteed peppers and onions. This is a great brunch, starter or lunch dish on lightly dressed baby greens, as the peppers and crab mixture can all be done well ahead for entertaining, as it all gets warmed up in the timbale anyway when you roast the asparagus. For brunch, I top this with a poached or fried egg, and include a picture of it but it tends to hide the beautiful asparagus top and so didn't use it as the main picture. There's a little spice here, but not much (unless you choose to pump it up a bit), and it gets balanced with cilantro and lime juice. I chose to place them on fried corn tortillas since I made these for dinner last night and we wanted something a little heftier. Note: for the timbale, I used metal rings about 3" high. —TheWimpyVegetarian
FOR THE PEPPER MIXTURE:
olive oil for sauteeing
poblano pepper, small diced
red pepper, small diced
yellow pepper, small diced
garlic cloves, minced
onion, small diced
jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
serrano pepper, finely chopped
FOR THE CRAB MIXTURE:
rock shrimp or medium shrimp chopped into 1/2" pices
pinch red pepper flakes
Cojita cheese, crumbled (feta cheese can be substituted)
cilantro, coarsely chopped
lime juice (to taste)
splashes Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
FOR THE ASPARAGUS TOPPING:
asparagus spears, cut into 1/2" segments, cutting large tips in half
Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan and saute all the peppers and onions together until soft, adding the garlic in the last couple minutes of sauteing.
Place in a bowl to cool. Add the cilantro, citrus juices and salt and pepper to taste. (This step can be done the day ahead, and chilled. If you do this, warm this mixture in the microwave or in a saute pan before filling the timbales.)
Saute the shrimp in a little olive oil until just cooked (about 2 minutes). Add the red pepper flakes at the end and finish by tossing the shrimp in the flakes over heat for about 1 minutes. Empty into a bowl and set aside to cool.
In another bowl, combine the crabmeat, cheese, shrimp, and the remaining ingredients for the crab mixture. Set aside. (This step can be done the day ahead and refrigerated until needed. Bring back to room temp before filling the timbales.)
Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the 6 metal rings on a baking sheet.
Spoon enough pepper mixture to fill each ring 1/3rd. Press down to even the layer and create a solid foundation for the crab mixture.
Spoon enough crab mixture to fill each ring another 1/3rd, pressing down to create a solid, even foundation for the asparagus.
Toss the asparagus slices in olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper and fill the final 1/3rd of each metal ring. Bake until the asparagus is just turning tender (about 10-12 minutes). It will still have a little crispness to it.
While the timbales are in the oven, heat 1" vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the tortillas, turning them carefully with tongs (about 20-30 seconds total).
Toss the pumpkin seeds in a little olive oil and spices and saute until lightly toasted (about 5 minutes).
When the timbales come out of the oven, let cool for a couple minutes on the baking sheet. Place a fried tortilla on each plate, placing the timbale with the metal ring around it on top of the corn tortilla and remove the ring. Sprinkle pepitas on top.
If desired, place a poached egg on top of the asparagus/pepita layer and serve warm.