Asparagus Bundles

Is it Spring yet? Technically, yes - but I’m pushing it with this recipe. We won’t be seeing local asparagus til June. However, I want you to be ready!

I LOVE asparagus, prosciutto, cheese, and balsamic vinegar. This recipe has it all! I’ve included it in the Club lesson “Show stopping sides”, but in addition to being a lovely side dish it also makes a wonderful appetizer or light dinner.

Oven roasting asparagus is a great way to go even if you aren’t making this dish. The asparagus takes on an almost nutty flavor and retains it’s beautiful color and crunch! Not surprisingly, this dish is at it’s best when the asparagus is super fresh and, if you’re lucky, you can make it the day you get it from the market.

Nutritionally speaking, asparagus is rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. The Greeks and Romans considered asparagus a delicacy.

When buying asparagus, look for a straight stock and tightly packed fresh leaves in the crown. It can be stored for several days. I put it in the refrigerator standing straight up in a jar with about an inch of water in the bottom treating the asparagus like cut flowers. I don’t cover the jar.

Welcome Spring and Buon Appetito!

Yield: 4

Asparagus Bundles

prep time: 15 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 35 mins

A delightful dish that is perfect for a light dinner, appetizer, or side.

ingredients:

  • 24 - 36  fresh asparagus spears (depends on thickness) 
  • 1/3 pound Emmenthaler cheese (optional) 
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • good quality balsamic vinegar (optional

instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400º
  2. Cut woody ends of asparagus off and set aside for later use (note - such as asparagus paté).
  3. Put spears in a bowl and toss with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  4. Coat a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.  
  5. On a work surface - lay down a piece of prosciutto.  Top with 3 (or more) asparagus spears.  Top with 2 strips of cheese, if using.  Wrap the prosciutto around the spears and cheese to make a bundle.
  6. Place the bundle in the baking dish and repeat the process with the remaining ingredients.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the spears are cooked through, prosciutto  is crisp and the cheese is melter.
  8. Serve on a platter or individually.  Drizzle with balsamic right before serving.  
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