Phyllo-wrapped asparagus and prosciutto

It doesn’t take much to get me to buy something tasty. At our local Co-op on Saturday, that nudge in the purchasing direction came by way of a guy handing out samples of La Quercia prosciutto Americano, an Iowa product that I’d heard about through various local foodie friends, but had not yet tried. Steve and I each took a healthy piece as the guy hawking it told us how much less salty it is then more traditional prosciutto. The guy was right, and the package was in my basket with no more prompting.

See how easy it is, food purveyors? See? You’ve got your high-end meat, your crazy-good cheese, your locally-produced milk? Just tell me it’s good and give me a taste. Take a tip from the heroin dealers.

“Let’s go get some asparagus,” I said to Steve.

“Why?” he asked.

Bundles in the oven“Because I can wrap it in the prosciutto, and then wrap it in some phyllo and bake it up. It’ll be good.”

“Of course,” Steve said, shaking his head in disbelief. “What else would you do with prosciutto?”

However, as breezy and confident as I might have seemed in the store, the truth is that I was about to take my first plunge into the world of phyllo dough. I had some stashed in the freezer, a gift from a friend who was moving out of town and clearing out her freezer, and it had been in there way too long already. It needed to be used, and I needed to get over my fear of easy-to-tear pastry sheets.

(Matt mentioned how I was freaking myself out over composting in his comment on my Garbage Buffet post, and I must tell you…I am quite capable of freaking myself out over everything from compost to phyllo.)

Proscuitto around asparagusAt home, I prepared everything before unwrapping the phyllo. I trimmed the asparagus, wrapped it in prosciutto, and melted butter for brushing onto the pastry sheets. When it was time to begin the operation, we set up an assembly line, and Steve pitched in as resident cheese doser, sprinkling the Parmesan on the pastry before I rolled it around the prosciutto-asparagus bundles. Half an hour in the oven, and we had appetizers for dinner.

Finished bundlesPhyllo-wrapped prosciutto and asparagus
(Serves 6 to 10 as an appetizer)

One bunch asparagus
3 oz. prosciutto, sliced into enough strips to wrap around each asparagus spear
Approximately 20 sheets of phyllo dough
Approximately 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 stick of butter, melted

(Note: If you are a vegetarian, just leave out the prosciutto, add a little more Parmesan for extra flavor, and all’s well.)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Trim the asparagus. Wrap each spear with proscuitto.
  3. Melt the butter.
  4. When those ingredients are ready, unwrap the phyllo dough. Most instructions will tell you to work on one sheet at a time while keeping the rest covered with a damp towel, but I ended up leaving the towel to one side – it was just getting in the way.
  5. Brush each sheet of phyllo with butter, then fold in half lengthwise. Brush folded sheet with butter again, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  6. Place one asparagus spear bundle at one end of the sheet, and roll it up. Place the bundle in a 9×13 baking pan (you may need an additional 8×8 or 9×9 pan for the overflow) and continue until all spears have been wrapped.
  7. Brush all the bundles with the remaining melted butter and bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are nicely browned. Serve immediately.

It’s been while since I participated in Weekend Herb Blogging, but I’m back! This week’s edition is hosted by Sher of What Did You Eat – please stop by for the full round-up!

12 Responses to “Phyllo-wrapped asparagus and prosciutto”

  1. 1 sher April 19, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Genie! That is so mouth watering. Good thing no one can see me drooling right now. :):) Thanks for that submission to WHB!

  2. 2 the mint killer April 19, 2007 at 11:44 am

    now proscuitto i can do! i was at a dinner party a few months ago that was a casual competition among friends with proscuitto as the anchoring ingredient. and with only a small dash of pride, i claimed the winning proscuitto recipe, with a fine dessert by:

    1. Coring whole apples and halving (and coring) pears, drizzling with just a small shot of sugar water, and baking them at about 450 degrees until soft but still keep their shape.(about 50 minutes)

    2. lining a serving plate with fine slices of proscuitto (and i did use la quercia!), and placing the warm, oozing baked fruit on the slices. LET THE PLATE SIT FOR ABOUT 15-20 MINUTES WHICH GIVES TIME FOR THE CARMALIZING FRUIT JUICES TO RUN AMOK ON THE PROSCUITTO SLICES. (this is the most important part really…)

    3. top the fruit with a dash of marscapone cheese and some proscuitto crumble (which is basically proscuitto that has been fried up for just a minute or two til it shrivels like bacon), and even, dare i say, some fresh or dried mint.

    easy, but super satisfying!

    and for more info about la quercia, which is now available outside of iowa at some whole foods markets and, most impressivley, at the meat counter at NYC’s famous fairway market, take a look at the winter issue of it’s the story behind the pig cover. i also hear that la quercia will have a booth at this year’s iowa state fair. should we go?

  3. 3 inadvertentgardener April 19, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Sher, thanks for hosting this week. It’s definitely a drool-worthy recipe…we gobbled it up.

    Mint Killer, wow…your prosciutto dessert sounds inspired! I’m going to have to give that a try. I’m glad to hear La Quercia is available at Fairway Market — very cool. And yes…whether La Quercia’s at the State Fair or not, I’m all over it. Must. Eat. Corn Dogs.

  4. 4 Katie April 19, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Just in time for the tale end of our asparagus season. I’ve run out of new ideas and this will be a perfect starter tomorrow!
    Well done! And very prettily done, also!
    I’ll have to look in the local markets when I’m in the U.S. next month to see if they carry that ham, less salty sounds good (although, I normally don’t pay attention)

  5. 5 Sugar Creek Farm April 19, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    I also have a fear of phyllo. Maybe this recipe will help me overcome. Except that last year when my dad came over to plow the garden for us, I forgot about the asparagus patch. Oops! Dear husband was not happy with me. Oh well, farmers market will be open soon.

  6. 6 Sally April 20, 2007 at 7:21 am

    And you’re a food blogger as well! Good for you Genie. That looks wonderful. And… is that a Romertopf (clay baker) I see on the bottom shelf???!

  7. 7 Stephanie April 20, 2007 at 7:40 am

    I just did aspargus with prosciutto the other day for the first time – it was great – we grilled ours on the grill. I loved it but am going to have to try the dough on it too – – -sounds great!!!!

  8. 8 inadvertentgardener April 20, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    Katie, did you try it? How did it turn out?

    Kelli, you should definitely give it a try once you can snag some asparagus from the farmer’s market. It’s really good stuff.

    Sally, actually, it’s a Pampered Chef stoneware pan! I have the lid that goes with it, though, so I can use it kind of like a Römertopf. But I don’t own the real deal, unfortunately.

    Stephanie, grilling it would be divine. I wonder if it would be possible to grill the asparagus, then wrap it in the prosciutto and phyllo…hmm…

  9. 9 Kalyn April 20, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    Sounds just wonderful. I think “fear of phyllo” is pretty common. I’ve only used it a couple of times, with mixed results!

  10. 10 inadvertentgardener April 20, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    Kalyn, thanks for the drop-by. Now that I’ve tried it once, I’m feeling a little more brave, but am not yet sure what I’ll try it with next. In a moment of decadence, I looked at a couple of baklava recipes, then decided I’d be better off just buying it ready-made.

  11. 11 Helene April 23, 2007 at 4:35 am

    I love asparagus and your recipe is so convincing. I´ll try it later this week.:)

  12. 12 inadvertentgardener April 23, 2007 at 7:11 am

    Helene, I hope the results are as convincing as my recipe! Enjoy and let me know how it turns out.

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