On a blog where butter, sugar, and chocolate reign supreme, I realize this recipe may be a bit of a surprise. After all, the recipes I've posted for green, vegetable-y dishes, are far and few between, and one of them would anyways be Basil Pesto (which is served with pasta and thus doesn't really count). Indeed, these asparagus probably feel out of place here, kind of like a vegan at a BBQ or a new kid in school who doesn't quite know who to sit with at lunch.
That being said, it's always nice to change things up and take a step away from all the cake and cookies, and with Easter coming up/yesterday being the first day of Spring I thought I would shake things up with something lighter, savory, and seasonal.
So, the verdict? Did I regret straying from my usual sugar dusted path? Not at all! Do not let the simplicity of this dish fool you -- it is spectacularly delicious. The asparagus is bright and fresh and perfectly cooked, a perfect counterpart to the salty richness of the prosciutto and the sharpness of Parmesan cheese, and the overall dish is pretty and elegant, a step up from your usual steamed asparagus. It is super versatile, great as an appetizer for a dinner party, as a simple dinner alongside a poached egg, or as a fancy side dish for Easter. Since writing this post, I've already made this dish 3 more times (my sister and I will soon turn into asparagus and prosciutto bundles ourselves, if this continues,) and oh, did I mention it only takes about 15 minutes to prepare, start to finish? Perfection indeed!
One final note: be sure to use good quality prosciutto and Parmesan, and the best asparagus you can find. When dishes have so few ingredients they have to be top notch, as there are not many other ingredients for them to "hide" behind. Enjoy everyone!
ASPARAGUS WITH PARMESAN AND PROSCIUTTO
18 asparagus spears
6 slices of prosciutto
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fill a large pot with water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Place the asparagus in the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the asparagus and put them immediately into a large bowl of ice water (this will help preserve the bright green color). Leave the asparagus to chill in the water for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove them and pat them dry.
On a clean work surface, lay out the slices of prosciutto and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Gather three of the asparagus spears together, and wrap them up in the prosciutto and Parmesan. Repeat with all asparagus spears. Place the asparagus and prosciutto bundles on a lightly greased baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little extra Parmesan. Bake the asparagus for 10-12 minutes, or until the prosciutto is crispy and the cheese is melted. Serves 6.