Make Ahead

Asparagus wrapped in phyllo and prosciutto

April  7, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 12 spears
Author Notes

My mother-in-law grew up in class-conscious, post-war England. Her mother was determined not to have her children’s social status be evident by less-than-exemplary table manners. So family lore presents her as unbending in her instruction of the proper dos and don’ts of sharing a formal meal. By her standards, the only food permissibly eaten with your fingers -- and not a fork -- was asparagus. This appetizer is a nod to eating asparagus sans silverware.
Note: The obvious cheese to use here is parmesan reggiano given the prosciutto, but I think it adds a bit too much salt. And since I read a profile on Dame Helen Mirren last spring in which she confessed to always keeping a piece of good quality Comté in her fridge, I do as well in hopes that it will be the magic ingredient for me, too, to look fabulous in a bikini at 60.

What You'll Need
  • 12 fresh asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed to an equal length
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 6 slices of prosciutto (the highest quality and the thinnest slices you can get your hands on)
  • 3 ounces Comté cheese, grated
  • 6 large sheets phyllo dough
  1. Place the asparagus spears in shallow boiling salted water and cook them for only two minutes. You just want to bring out the spring green color here and not cook them all the way through. Immediately drain them, place in an ice bath to shock them and set the color. Lay them flat on a paper towel so that they dry completely.
  2. Melt butter over very low heat. Remove from heat and add garlic, zest and fresh ground pepper to taste. Keep the butter mixture warm and in a liquid state.
  3. Cut the pieces of prosciutto in half lengthwise to get 12 more or less equally size strips. Sprinkle each strip of prosciutto with a teaspoon or so of Comté. Wrap one piece of prosciutto – cheese side in – around one spear of asparagus. Set spears aside.
  4. Lay one piece of phyllo on the counter. Using a pastry brush spread some butter mixture all over it, making sure that some of the garlic and the lemon zest are also dispersed. Lay a second piece of phyllo on top of the first piece. Smooth the surface so that the two pieces adhere to each other. Cut the phyllo into 3-inch strips. Wrap one strip of phyllo around one prosciutto wrapped spear and set on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat this process until all of the spears are wrapped.
  5. At this juncture you can throw these in the fridge until you are ready to cook them off.
  6. To cook them, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (a convection oven will do just fine here to speed up the process) and place the tray of phyllo-prosciutto wrapped spears in the oven. It should take between 12 and 20 minutes for the phyllo to turn golden brown.
  7. Serve immediately, without utensils.
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  • lorigoldsby
  • annalea
  • Brenna
  • cheese1227
I am an excellent eater (I have been all my life). I’m a pretty good cook (Ask my kids!). And my passable writing improves with alcohol (whether it's the writer or the reader that needs to drink varies by sentence.). I just published my first cookbook, Green Plate Special, which focuses on delicious recipes that help every day cooks eat more sustainably.

5 Reviews

lorigoldsby December 10, 2011
Can I give you a helpful hint about working with phyllo? I make a very similar appetizer (but I do not precook the asparagus...and I use feta cheese instead of the Comte )

Just use 1 sheet at a time and fold it onto itself twice so you have a long strip (1/4th) showing. Place spear and seasoning and cheese, roll until it overlaps slightly, then use a knife or pizza cutter to cut across, set aside and roll the next spear. You will use less butter and won't have the frustration of layering sheets.
annalea April 22, 2010
I tested this recipe last week and thought it was great! my feedback is below -

the final results were delicious!

The middle portion of the recipe was difficult to interpret for me. I felt that cutting the prosciutto was unnecessary, but maybe it was just the size of the slices I was working with. Also, the explanation of cutting the phyllo "into 3 inch strips" didn't explain enough for me. either. I ended up using two different shapes after cutting in two different directions to get the best looking phyllo wraps. it worked best to cut the sheets I had in thirds across the long side.

everything else is simple and straightforward. the ingredients were easy to find and the flavors and texture were spot on. i will keep this one on hand for any upcoming parties during asparagus season. it looks and tastes impressive.
cheese1227 April 22, 2010
Thanks for the feedback, annalea! Very pleased that you liked the end results and so sorry my unclear middle steps let to wasted phyllo! I remember I once got so frustrated working with some fresh phyllo I'd picked up from a middle eastern grocery that I threw is against the fridge, and it stuck. Live and learns, I guess. I'll work on my clarity.
Brenna April 7, 2010
Best foreword to a recipe yet. Please let cheese be the ticket to a banging 60-year-old body. Assuming wine gets to come along, too.
cheese1227 April 7, 2010
But of course, it's all about balance, no?