Wednesday, April 11, 2012

recipe: asparagus cigars with prosciutto & asiago

I recently treated my Mom to high tea at Langdon Hall.  It was a quite an indulgence as we had begun the afternoon with massages.  I’m due to deliver my second child any day now – meaning that I am painfully aware that being away from home for four hours at a stretch isn’t going to be a possibility.  It was wonderful to be able to relax and enjoy uninterrupted conversation and of course, some delicious food.

After we selected our teas (a difficult decision, as there were so many to choose from), we were served two varieties of warm scones accompanied with the most amazing honey butter, devon cream and preserves.

Afterwards, the server appeared with a tiered serving stand for each of us, both containing a slew of sweets and savouries.  I believe there were about ten pieces in total – and they were all delicious. Mom’s favs?  The “Lake Huron trout & orchard apple canapé” and the “brandy snap honey crisp cream”.  I particularly enjoyed the “Forfar Dairy cheddar & Niagara pear phyllo purse” and the “sea buckthorn meringue tartlette” .

I rarely cook with phyllo pastry at home.  However, I’m not entirely sure why, as its delicious and easy to use (once you’ve had the experience of working with it a few times).  I love these crispy asparagus straws, which appeared on our catering menu for years. These would be delicious served with afternoon tea, or at your next cocktail party.

Asparagus Cigars with Prosciutto & Asiago

(recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)


·        24 (twenty-four) asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
·        6 (six) sheets phyllo pastry
·        ¼ (one-quarter) cup butter, melted
·        12 (twelve) slices prosciutto, cut in half crosswise
·        4 (four) ounces asiago cheese (or parmesan cheese)


1.      Blanch the asparagus in a pot of boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes until just al dente and bright green.  Drain in a colander and run cold water over the asparagus.
2.      Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
3.      Place 1 sheet of phyllo on a dry surface.  Keep the remaining sheets covered with a clean, slightly damp towel.  Brush lightly with melted butter and cut into 4 rectangular pieces, each 5 x 7 inches.
4.      Place 1 piece of prosciutto on the phyllo, lining it up along 1 short edge of the rectangle.  Arrange an asparagus spear on top of the prosciutto along the same short edge of the rectangle, letting the tip lay exposed beyond the top edge of the dough by ¾ inch or so.  Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of asiago.  Roll up and secure the edge of the dough with additional butter, if necessary.  Repeat with the remaining ingredients, transferring the straws onto the prepared baking sheet.  The straws may be made 1 to 2 hours ahead up to this point, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated.
5.      To bake preheat the oven to 450°F.  Sprinkle the top of the straws with the remaining cheese.  Cover the asparagus tips with foil to protect them from the heat.  Bake until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes.  Serve warm, either whole or sliced into bite-size pieces.

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