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Start Sunday with this lively spring brunch.

Asparagus and Prosciutto Strata

Eggs and asparagus are a perfect pair, accented with salty prosciutto, chives, and lemon.

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 1/4 hours, plus at least 1 hour to chill

MAKES: 8 servings</p> <pre> 1 pound asparagus, tough stem ends snapped off, cut into 2-inch lengths 1 loaf (3/4 lb.) crusty, artisan-style bread, cut into 1-inch cubes 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips 1 1/4 cups shredded parmesan or asiago cheese (about 5 oz.) 1/2 cup chopped chives 6 large eggs 3 1/2 cups milk 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper </pre> <p>1. Preheat oven to 350[degrees]. In a medium pan over high heat, bring about 2 quarts water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until bright green and barely tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

2. Spread half the bread cubes in a lightly oiled 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Top with half the prosciutto, cooked asparagus, cheese, and chives. Layer remaining bread cubes on top, followed by remaining prosciutto, asparagus, cheese, and chives.

3. In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, lemon peel, salt, and pepper to blend. Pour evenly over layered ingredients. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

4. Bake until center of strata is set and top is lightly browned, 40 to 50 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Per serving: 332 cal., 52% (171 cal.) from fat; 23 g protein; 19 g fat (7.1 g sot.); 28 g carbo (1.6 g fiber); 915 mg sodium; 197 mg chol.

Buttermilk-Currant Scones with Lemon Glaze

Flaky and tender, with just the right balance of sweetness and lemony tang.

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 45 minutes

MAKES: 8 scones</p> <pre> 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into chunks 3/4 cup buttermilk 1 large egg 1/2 cup dried currants 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel 2/3 cup powdered sugar 2 tablespoons lemon juice </pre> <p>[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

1. Preheat oven to 350[degrees]. In a bowl or food processor, mix or whirl flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to blend. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. If using a processor, scrape mixture into a bowl.

2. In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk and egg to blend. Add to flour mixture along with dried currants and lemon peel. Stir with a fork just until evenly moistened (dough will look crumbly).

3. Scrape dough onto a floured surface and, with lightly floured hands, work it into a ball, then pat into a 7-inch round about 1 3/4 inches thick. Cut dough into eight equal wedges. Arrange wedges 2 inches apart on a baking sheet.

4. Bake scones until tops are browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes on baking sheet. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together powdered sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle glaze over warm scones. Serve scones warm or let cool completely.

Per scone: 360 cal., 33% (117 cal.) from fat; 6.3 g protein; 13 g fat (7.5 g sat.); 56 g carbo (1.8 g fiber); 419 mg sodium; 58 mg chol.

Strawberry-Marmalade Salad

At just 4 ingredients, this zingy salad is packed with flavor.

PREP TIME: 15 minutes

MAKES: About 8 servings

NOTES: You can make this compote up to 4 hours ahead; cover and chill.</p> <pre> 4 navel oranges 2 pints strawberries 1/3 cup orange marmalade

2 tablespoons lemon juice </pre> <p>1. Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut off and discard ends from oranges. Following the curve of the fruit, cut off peel and outer membrane. Slice oranges crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds.

2. Hull and slice strawberries; add to oranges.

3. In a small bowl, stir together marmalade and lemon juice. Add to fruit and mix gently to coat.

Per serving: 89 cal., 4% (3.6 cal.) from fat; 1.2 g protein; 0.4 g fat (0 g sat.); 23 g carbo (3.8 g fiber); 9.7 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY LEIGH BEISCH
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:ENTERTAINING
Author:Ferreira, Charity
Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Recipe
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2006
Words:716
Previous Article:Five ways to enjoy ... fresh asparagus.
Next Article:Homestyle Chinese; Forget takeout: these dishes are fast to make.
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