Whenever my family gets together for the holidays, there are certain people who always manage to bring dishes that are extra-special. My brother David is one of those people–he always brings something that has a gourmet flair to it.
This vegetable dish has become one of our favorites that he brings. It has a light springtime taste and looks like you have spent hours on it when it actually doesn’t take that long to put together. It can be made ahead of time to be put in the oven just before serving.These asparagus bundles are a great first course with crusty bread or breadsticks or an accompaniment for meat, fish, poultry or pasta. This recipe serves six people.
1-1 1/2 pounds asparagus (about 40 spears),
ends trimmed and peeled.
8-10 thin slices imported prosciutto (about 1/4 pound)
2 tablespoons unsalted utter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Freshly ground black pepper to tast
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Boil water over high heat in a large skillet. Add the asparagus and cook covered for two minutes. Drain Immediately and rinse under very cold running water until the asparagus are cold. Drain again.
Preheat the over to 400 degrees and put a rack in the middle of the oven.
On a clean counter, line up four to five asparagus spears of the same thickness, and trim the ends so they are the same length. Put a strip of proscuitto on a cutting board, and fold it over lengthwise to make a long thin strip. Position the bundle of asparagus spears in the middle of the proscuitto, and roll the meal about the middle of the buddle. Place this bundle in the bottom of a large, ovenproof skillet ot a large gratin dish. Repeat the procedure with the rest of the asparagus spears and proscuitto.
In a small skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook for three minutes, stirring constantly, until the garlic is soft but not brown. Remove this mixture from the heat, and add the pepper.
Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the asparagus spears, and drizzle the butter over all the bundles. You can prepare this dish several hours ahead of time up to this point, and cover and refrigerate unti you are ready to bake.
Bake the asparagus for about 13-15 minutes. The cheese should be melted, and the asparagus should be tender, but not soft. Serve this dish hot with lemon wedges on the side.
This recipe is from the Stonewall Kitchen Harvest: Celebrating the Bounty of the Seasons by Jim Stott, Jonathan King and Kathy Gunst. Click here if you would like to learn more about this terrific cookbook.