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Asparagus has a reputation.  In spring, it appears in stores as a luxurious celebration of the arrival of the season.  In the memories of some, it is a culinary blight on their childhood.  It is not for everyone.

But here are the reasons for wrapping it in proscuitto and putting it in the oven:  Asparagus is liable to an exact count.  If you are planning a menu, you will not need to estimate amounts or wonder if your estimation will prove correct.  Made in this fashion, asparagus is also liable to an exact cooking time.  It will not sit around getting soggy.  And if you are not a fan of asparagus, you may be converted by a version of it that is wrapped in salty ham, drizzled with olive oil, and cooked only until it browns a little.

Asparagus with Proscuitto (for 10 people)

Ingredients:

  • 30 asparagus spears (3 for each person)
  • about 8 thin slices of proscuitto or a little more than 1/4 pound 
  • olive oil
  • fresh ground salt and pepper

Equipment:

  • A baking sheet with a raised edge

1.  Preheat the oven to 450 F.

2. With a vegetable peeler or a small knife, trim the tough ends of the asparagus spears to points. 

3.  Cut the slices of proscuitto into 30 strips, lengthwise.  One slice of ham will usually make 4 strips.

4.  Divide the asparagus spears into bundles of 3 and wrap a strip of proscuitto around each bundle:

5.  Place the bundles on a baking sheet with a raised edge, then drizzle some olive oil over them and a few grinds of salt and pepper:

6.  The asparagus roasts for 12 minutes.   Put it in the oven now or later– whenever it is convenient for you:

7.   If you are making this vegetable as part of the Dinner Menu:  A Welcome Dinner for an Out-of-Town Visitor who has Traveled Far, set it aside until the beef tenderloin is done.  Turn up the oven temperature to 450 F, wilt the arugula, and begin making the sauce for the tenderloin. When the oven is preheated, put in the asparagus.  In 12 minutes, it will be ready:

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011

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