Asparagus and Grilled Melon Salad
I’ve got such a fun recipe for you today! Butter-poached asparagus topped with grilled melon salad. Have you ever grilled melon?
Grilled pineapple is all kinds of good, so logically grilled melon should be good, too, right?
Along with this recipe I’ve got a review of Giada de Laurentiis’s new book Giada’s Italy!
I just adore nice, thick, hardbound cookbooks with pretty photography. Giada’s Italy is all of those things. Plus the text on the cover is embossed, which I thought was a nice touch considering the textured background.
Have I told you I have a girl crush on Giada? When I really started to get into cooking I would watch hours of Food Network and her show was one I always watched. This was before the kids came. And Steve was on an 18-month deployment to Afghanistan. I was finishing college, working part-time, and had a lot of time on my hands. Thus, lots of Food Network, HGTV, and alone time. (I think 2005 was the beginning of my hermit tendencies. And interestingly enough I started a personal blog on Xanga. Anyone remember Xanga??)
Anyways, I have always loved Giada’s healthier, California twists on traditional Italian food. She inspired me to make BBQ sauce for the first time and her Balsamic BBQ Sauce is still my favorite. (I’ve since adapted it to be paleo friendly and you can find it here — Chicken with Balsamic BBQ Sauce.)
Scattered throughout the cookbook are photos from her birth city of Rome. I love the ones with Giada and her daughter, Jade.
There are some fun recipes in here. Candied Prosciutto, anyone? I’m dying to make this.
This roasted squash looks pretty incredible, too. Bookmarking that for squash season!
I love sheet pan meals and this Italian Sheet Pan Chicken is on my to-do list.
As you might suspect, there are a lot of pasta recipes in the book, but you can easily swap the out for gluten-free versions or use vegetable noodles. I find I’m not really confined to paleo-only cookbooks these days. I love looking for new flavor combinations and making substitutions isn’t too hard most of the time.
My favorite part of this book is that it introduced me to Calabrian chile paste! I’m a hot sauce junkie and was stoked to try a new version. (I never thought I’d ever say that, by the way. Funny how pregnancy cravings turn into lifelong cravings. It’s also the reason why I love La Croix.)
This stuff is like the Italian version of Asian chile paste (sambal oelek). I checked a few places around here, but bought some online because I was too impatient. Here’s a link to Calabrian chile paste on Amazon — it’s the same one I bought.
(I used some of this chile paste, along with anchovy paste when I made green beans the other night. Whoa. So. Good. And I don’t even like green beans most of the time.)
In this recipe, the asparagus is poached in butter (yes, for real), which is something I hadn’t done before. It left the asparagus so tender and decadent and went beautifully with the spicy-sweet grilled melon salad. This would be such a great side dish alongside some grilled chicken!
Give this recipe a try and find a copy of Giada’s Italy to flip through!
1. Calabrian chile paste is like an Italian version of Asian chile paste (sambal oelek). I found my tube on Amazon.
2. I thought the amount of chile paste was good for Steve and me, but maybe a little spicy if you're not a heat-seeker. Maybe use half and taste it before you add the rest.
3. To make this Whole30 compliant, use ghee instead of butter or drizzle oil over the asparagus and grill it alongside the melon. And don't add the cheese.