April 9, 2019
Prosciutto is popular and well-known among cured meats, yet not utilized to its full potential in home kitchens. You may see it draped over pizzas at pizzerias or wrapped around melon at fancy parties, but at home it has all kinds of applications: straight from the package in sandwiches and salads, torn over pasta or scrambled eggs or tucked under poached eggs, Benedict-style. Cooked in the oven or on the stovetop, it crisps up, giving it a thin, salty, crunchy texture that’s far lighter and not as chewy as bacon—lay it over pizza or pasta, crumble it over salads or baked potatoes, or serve it in virtually any way you would serve bacon.
Asparagus and prosciutto s a classic combination—when asparagus is in season in the spring, it’s best to eat as much as possible. Snap the tough ends of the asparagus off where they naturally break. Cut the queso fresco—I like using locally-made Fresk-O cheese—into 1/4-1/3-inch thick slices and place one piece up against each asparagus stalk; wrap a single (or half) slice of prosciutto around it to hold it on. The prosciutto is tacky enough to stick to itself, and won’t unravel as you cook it.
The heat of a skillet or the oven will cause the prosciutto to shrink-wrap whatever it’s wrapped around, creating a salty, bacon-y package. If you want to skip the cheese, just the asparagus-prosciutto is a tasty combo on its own. These are tasty as a party snack, but equally well suited to brunch (try them drizzled with hollandaise) or alongside a roasted chicken or fish for dinner. And when the weather warms up, they’re perfect for tossing on the grill.
1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off
4-6 oz queso fresco
1 pkg prosciutto
Cut the queso fresco into fingers about the width of the asparagus (or a bit wider) and about 1/3-inch thick. Cut the slices of prosciutto in half lengthwise. Place a piece of cheese up against an asparagus stalk and wrap with prosciutto as if you were wrapping a splint.
Set a large skillet over medium-high heat or preheat the oven to 350˚F. (You can do this alongside something else as it’s baking.) Cook the asparagus stalks in the skillet or bake them on a sheet for 5-10 minutes, until the prosciutto is golden, the cheese is melting and the asparagus is tender-crisp.
- Julie Van Rosendaal
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