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.
“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.)
At 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.
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.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Trim the asparagus. Wrap each spear with proscuitto.
- Melt the butter.
- 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.
- Brush each sheet of phyllo with butter, then fold in half lengthwise. Brush folded sheet with butter again, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- 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.
- 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.