Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto and Puff Pastry

   

Hello! I'm Brandon, a full time caterer by day and recipe developer, food stylist, and photographer by night. I've catered to a range of celebrity musicians including Heart, Jackson Browne, Alice Cooper, Celtic Woman, and more, but I get the most enjoyment from developing delicious, beautifully presented recipes to share with you! If you like what you see here, be sure to visit my personal blog at www.TheYummyBits.com!

Puff pastry is one of my favorite ingredients in the kitchen for two reasons: if you're running behind and guests are on their way, it can quickly transform ingredients you have on hand into an impressive appetizer, entree, or dessert. On the other hand, if you are the type of person who likes to plan meals in advance, you can make most dishes with puff pastry up until the point where they need to be baked, then refrigerate them for a day or two until needed.

The only way you can go wrong with puff pastry is in handling it incorrectly. This product is made up of hundreds of layers of dough and butter, which rise under heat as the butter warms and steams. For this reason, you need to keep it very cold and handle it very quickly, minimizing the amount of time your warm hands touch it. Excess handling can cause the butter layers to melt prematurely, decreasing the amount of rise you'll see in the oven... you want the butter to melt quickly in the oven at a high temperature, not in your hands before it goes in! For best results, keep it refrigerated and take out pieces as you need them rather than having all your puff pastry sitting out on the counter.

For this recipe, choose thin asparagus stalks to reduce the amount of work you'll need to do. The thick asparagus stalks should be boiled and cooled before being wrapped, while the thinner stalks will cook tenderly in the oven after being wrapped, no pre-cooking required.

Finally, prosciutto can get quite expensive... if you're looking to create this recipe on a budget, substitute ham for the prosciutto, and use a vegetable you already have such as peppers, scallions, or other produce! Puff pastry lets you be creative with ingredients already in your refrigerator!

Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto and Puff Pastry

1 pound puff pastry (usually packaged as 2 ready-to-bake sheets)
20 asparagus stalks, thin, woody bottoms cut off
20 slices prosciutto, thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Roll one piece of prosciutto around each asparagus stalk and set aside.
3. Remove one sheet of puff pastry from the refrigerator. Working quickly, cut the sheet into ten, 2-inch strips and wrap each strip around a prosciutto-wrapped asparagus stalk. Arrange on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and place in cooler. Repeat using the other sheet of puff pastry and remaining prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, and arrange the finished products on the baking pan with the others.
4. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes or until the puff pastry has risen and is golden brown.