Asparagus-themed appetizer and entrée recipes for summer


Ah, the taste and crunch of asparagus in the summertime!

In our kitchen today, Gina Ferwerda, Resort Owner, Cookbook Author, and Travel Blogger, shares a few light recipes that are sure to be “patio-dining worthy!” 

Garlic Scape & Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Breast 
With an Heirloom Caprese Salad
(Serves 4)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon smoked house seasoning (recipe below)
1/4 cup fresh pesto (recipe below)
8 fresh asparagus spears, trimmed to 5-6” in length
8 fresh garlic scapes
1/4 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 400º-F. 

Slice chicken breasts in half, lengthwise, almost all the way through the center, and lay flat. Evenly sprinkle house seasoning over both sides of the butterflied chicken breasts. Evenly spread the pesto on the inside of each breast, followed by 2 asparagus spears and 2 garlic scapes. Sprinkle cheeses over top, then roll up each breast. Secure with toothpick, if necessary. 

Melt oil and butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add the stuffed chicken breasts. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. (Remove toothpicks now, if added, and place chicken seam-side down in skillet.) Transfer chicken to oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked. 

Remove chicken and let rest. Serve with Heirloom Caprese Salad. 

Heirloom Caprese Salad
2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch slices 
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/2-inch thick 
2 tablespoons fresh pesto (recipe below)
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish


Layer tomato and mozzarella slices on a platter. Drizzle pesto over slices and garnish with fresh basil. 

Asparagus-themed appetizer and entrée recipes for summer

Garlic Scape Pesto
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped garlic scapes (or 2 garlic cloves)
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese 
Juice and zest of 1 lemon 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/8 teaspoon pepper


Add all pesto ingredients to a food processor and process for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the processor, as necessary. Taste and add extra salt and pepper, if desired. 

Cover and refrigerate any leftover pesto. 

Smoked House Seasoning 
¼ cup salt
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Mix all seasonings together and store in an air-tight container. 


Add a splash of balsamic vinegar or glaze, red wine vinegar or a squeeze of fresh lemon over this entire dish just before serving. 

Asparagus-themed appetizer and entrée recipes for summer

Asparagus Spring Salad in Parmesan Cheese Cups
Serves 6 to 8

2 cups fresh asparagus spears, cut into bite-size pieces 
1½ cups shredded Parmesan cheese

Honey Dijon Red Wine Vinaigrette
1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Michigan honey 
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced 
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon Sriracha seasoning
½ cup sunflower oil 

4 cups mixed salad greens
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered 
Freshly grated or shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375°F.

Steam or blanch asparagus until tender-crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. 

On a silicone or parchment paper-lined baking sheet, add 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese in a round and gently pat down. Repeat, keeping space between each cheese round. Bake for 2 to 3 minutes, then cool for 30 seconds. Lift each round with a spatula and drape over the back side of a mini muffin tin. Set aside and let cheese form into cups. 
In a small bowl, whisk together Dijon, honey, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and Sriracha seasoning. Slowly add sunflower oil while vigorously whisking until dressing is emulsified.  

In a large bowl, add mixed greens, tomatoes and asparagus. Drizzle ¼ cup of dressing on greens and gently toss together. Add more dressing, if needed. Add a pinch of salad inside each Parmesan cup. 
Add the remaining salad to a large platter, then top with the Parmesan crisp salad cups. Garnish with freshly grated or shaved Parmesan cheese. 

Dressing makes approximately 1 cup.  Cover and refrigerate remaining dressing.
Meyer lemon juice substitute: juice ½ a lemon and ½ an orange.

If the cheese hardens after baking but before it is formed into a cup, it can be resoftened. Place the Parmesan crisp on a microwaveable plate and heat on high for 3 seconds. Once soft, immediately drape over the back side of the mini muffin tin. 

Resort Owner – 
Author/Food & Travel Blogger
Facebook –
On Instagram & Twitter @ginaferwerda

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