Prosciutto-Wrapped Grilled Asparagus
Once Upon A Time …
Growing up, my brothers said I was a “picky eater”. Fresh sliced tomatoes, asparagus, and eggs that weren’t scrambled were not palatable to me. I pretty much ate everything else. Apparently though, it was enough to earn me the title. I have, over the years, developed a love for fresh sliced tomatoes, but have yet to conquer the runny egg.
About 20 years ago, my husband and I stayed at a bed and breakfast in Maine. Our first morning breakfast featured a corn and asparagus frittata. I heard “asparagus” and was instantly disappointed. I didn’t want to be rude. The dish did look really appetizing. The least I could do was take one bite.
Overcome dislike for asparagus? Check.
Turns out, I just didn’t like asparagus prepared in the same way my family liked it. My mom would make it creamed and she couldn’t make enough of it to satisfy my dad and brothers. I didn’t like the softer texture. Trying it prepared in a different way, I discovered I really did like it. Each spring I now look forward to fresh asparagus. Steamed … roasted … grilled … pickled for my Bloody Mary …
But I digress.
Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus is one of my absolute favorite preparations!
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
This preparation is almost too simple to be called a “recipe”. Seriously … two ingredients and a grill. Or an oven! There are a few keys to success but the basics are:
- Fresh asparagus
- Good quality prosciutto
- A hot (425°F-450°F) grill or oven
Wash and dry the asparagus spears. Cut off the ends of each spear. If the cut feels tough or hard, make another cut until the cut feels tender. Choose spears that have a similar diameter. Cut prosciutto slices in half lengthwise. Gently wrap a slice (or two depending on the length of the asparagus) around each spear, pressing the prosciutto to hold in place. Place directly on a hot grill or on a pan (see “Tips for Success” below) in a hot oven (425°F-450°F). Rotate spears every 3-4 minutes or as the prosciutto becomes crispy. Spears with smaller diameters will require less time than thicker spears. Although crispy prosciutto is preferred, overcooked asparagus is not! It is better to remove the asparagus while still firm, than to cook it longer to achieve a crispier prosciutto.
Tips for Success
How to trim asparagus spears: do this!
If you have very thin stalks of asparagus, bundle two or three stalks together in each wrap.
I am particularly fond of the prosciutto made by the Iowa company, La Quercia. You can substitute thinly sliced bacon for the prosciutto. I would recommend partially cooking the bacon before wrapping around the asparagus. Otherwise, the bacon will take longer to crisp and the asparagus will be overcooked.
If you want to make this in an oven, a stoneware or cast-iron pan works best. Place the pan in the oven as it preheats. Remove the pan from the oven, place the spears on the hot pan and return it to the oven. This will help with the browning process and avoid overcooking the asparagus as well.Turn spears or bundles as described above and remove when asparagus is tender.
Serve It Up!
This makes a great side dish for Smokey Maple Salmon, steak, Chicken Roulade, or even for a brunch frittata.
You know what else is good for brunch? Pineapple. That’s one thing my oldest brother never liked and will not eat to this day. Funny … he never was called “picky”! 😉
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