Thursday, August 23, 2012

Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

A riff on the traditional Italian antipasto of Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus, this ultra simple and delicious recipe is an easy and impressive way to serve these tiny bundles as an elegant side dish of an outdoor summer meal. The prosciutto adds just the right amount of saltiness to the spears, making for a superbly savoury and flavour-packed combination. Grilling the asparagus over low heat help to render most of the fat out of the prosciutto, causing it to shrink and tighten around the bundles for a lovely presentation. Wrap each individual spear for easy party appetizer, and serve with a tangy citron vinaigrette.

Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
Serves 6 as a side dish

1 lb asparagus (18 spears)
6 slices prosciutto or pancetta, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste

1 lemon, sliced, for garnish

Wash the asparagus spears and trim off the woody bottoms. Toss the asparagus in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a little salt and pepper to coat all of the pieces. Tightly wrap three pieces of asparagus in each slice of prosciutto and lay seam side down on a tray. Light an outdoor grill or preheat a grill pan. Grill the asparagus over moderate heat, turning often, until the bundles are just tender and the prosciutto is crisp, about 5-7 minutes total, depending on the size of the asparagus. Transfer the asparagus to a platter and drizzle 
with a little olive oil, some balsamic vinegar and a pinch of Maldon salt. Garnish with sliced lemon and serve immediately.

Citron Vinaigrette:
1 orange, zest and juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, stir the orange zest and juice with the mustard and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and serve with individual spears of Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus as an antipasto.