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Grilled asparagus in parma

How to get kids to eat vegetables?

Asparagus with cured ham

Asparagus with cured ham and mayo.

Boiled asparagus wrapped in cured ham is a classic. Grilling them is even better.

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But whereas grown-ups may consider the asparagus king of vegetables, this fact does not impress kids. I have read books on the subject, discussed and pondered, tried several different methods. But I still have not found an easy solution. How to get kids to eat vegetables?

Kids and vegs

We have always served our son Loukas from the onset nutritious food with lots of vegetables. From he was 4 months old we have served him new types of food, making sure his taste buds would be challenged. We have always been positive about food, telling him how lovely broccoli is or what wonders the walnut is to his brain. We have made food together in the kitchen and been food shopping together. And we have followed the tapas principle, serving different types of food for him to choose. Still, vegetables have been the least desirable elements on his plate. Instead he has reached for the meat or fish.

Popeye sticks and London ketchup

The closest we have come to unveiling the mystery of kids and vegs, has been serving a little green amuse-bouche while waiting for dinner. Small sticks of carrot or kale chips. The other succesful thing has been calling food names. Instead of serving Loukas ketchup, we rather use HP-sauce. We call it London-ketchup, and Loukas adores the sweet and sour sauce like he adores London. Hence the name. The first time Loukas ate asparagus, was dinner at his grandmother when the asparagus were disguised as Popeye sticks! I am sure not only spinach but also asparagus would have caused the giant muscles of Popeye.

I wrap the Popeye sticks with cured ham, such as parma ham, and serve them with another thing Loukas loves, mayonnaise. Grilled asparagus with cured ham is lovely as a starter or as a side order with grilled salmon. This is also easy breezy summer food. The mayo is easily prepared in advance, and you can grill the Popeye sticks and just reheat them afterwards.

Grilled asparagus with cured ham served with lemon mayonnaise

Lemon mayonnaise

1 organic egg yolk
1/3 lemon
1 tsp mustard
salt and pepper
100 ml oil (it should be a neutral oil)

1. Mix the yolk, juice from 1/3 lemon, salt and pepper and the mustard in a bowl.
2. Add the oil, drop by drop, while continuously whisking. Make sure the oil is fully incorporated before adding more, hence just adding a little at a time.

Grilled asparagus in parma

1 bunch of asparagus
dry-cured ham, such as parma
½ lemon

1. First, grill the halved lemon (cut side down).
2. Break the asparagus at the lower part, where the woody part ends and the tender part begins. Discard the base. Brush with a little oil and grill until charred and slightly tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Wrap the cured ham around the asparagus and grill for another minute until the ham is starts to crisp up.
4. Before serving, add a little pepper and a squeeze of the lemon.

Hungry for more summer food?

Mountain trout with potato salad
Salmon with paradise butter
Pasta salad with roasted vegetables