This is one of those recipes that anyone can find success with, however it does take a little bit of preparation. It can be served as an appetizer that people pick up with their fingers, and I think I saw this presentation in a Martha Stewart book. Since you can blanch or steam the asparagus ahead of time, wrap it with the ham and then finish this at the last minute, it can also be an elegant salad presentation. You can drizzle the syrup over the top and crumble some of your favorite blue cheese, which will offer a nice complexity. A very rich man I once cooked for who shall remain nameless (signed a contract on that one) had this for breakfast twice a week. Since I never knew when he would ask for this and he never wanted to talk about the menu ahead of time I usually blanched 10 asparagus every morning and wrapped them in the ham so that when he asked I was ready. If he didn’t eat them I ate them myself after dinner, late at night, during the laborious hour of cleaning the stove. Despite the fact that I was still on my feet the asparagus and its natural elegance cheered me.
30 thick spears of asparagus, trimmed
15 slices of prosciutto, cold
3 tablespoons butter
- For this appetizer you want the asparagus fairly uniform in size. So how you trim will depend on the health and thickness of the spear. On the Food Network you can watch Rachel or Nigella lecture you on how to break a spear with your fingers, one by one, so that it snaps at precisely the right point. Since I don’t have that kind of time I use the old fashioned, to-the-point knife. Steam asparagus in a steamer basket for about 4 minutes. Or blanch (meaning boil fast) in two quarts of heavily salted water, which helps the vegetable retain its nice green color. Set aside to cool.
- Lay slice of prosciutto on a clean surface with one of the ends close to you. Put two asparagus spears, on each end, and roll them towards each other, and cut where they meet. Set aside. Do this with all of the asparagus spears.
- Melt the butter and brush the asparagus spears with butter.
- Grill these over medium heat, being cautious to not loose asparagus spears through the grill. Every grill varies somewhat in the heat and the ratio of grill against heat, therefore watch these. They should be done in about 4-6 minutes, enough to make the ham crispy.
Serve these with a balsamic, honey syrup
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
Place ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced by about two thirds, and then set aside.
Drizzle sauce on plate and top with asparagus spears.