If I met the chef who invented this hors d'oeuvre I would give them a big fat kiss...even if it was a dude. Thats how good these are! Sadly all I can say about their origin is the very first time I had them I was bathed in the violet light of the sun setting over central park, 4 gin and tonics deep, in the Allen room of Jazz at Lincoln center...BTW I would highly recommend attending any party that you might be invited to or might be able to crash in the Allen room...In any event I don't know who the chef who invented these is but the catering was by Great Performances...who are not the same people as the folks at PBS (I asked). The next morning when I awoke after 10 straight hours of drinking and gorging myself, this hors d'oeuvre was the only thing I could remember about the night.
Also of note:
Sometimes when I'm pretending to be healthy i'll substitute whole wheat phyllo for regular phyllo. One can also leave out the Serrano for a vegetarian (and less delicious) version. —Larry Wellington Cauldwell
This is my adaptation of this recipe and is based solely on the little I remember from that fateful night.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Cut the asparagus stalks into bite size pieces about two inches long (or even three inches long if you have a giant mouth)
Unroll the phyllo dough and cut the sheets into rectangles about 2 inches by 5 inches. Stack two or three rectangles on top of each other and arrange them on a flat surface.
Brush each set of rectangles with melted butter. Then place a small piece of Serrano ham on the sheet and a piece of asparagus on top of the ham. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roll the asparagus up in the phyllo.
Brush the rolls with butter to seal them and sprinkle with grated Manchego. Bake in the oven at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes until golden brown and crisp.