Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

We’ve arrived at that time of year again, when local foragers start to drive slowly on back roads, searching to score on wild asparagus growing in ditches.

It’s a sign of my favorite season, when your toes are no longer frozen but it’s not so hot that you have to sequester yourself in the air conditioning. Spring in South Dakota makes me want to kick off my shoes, eat fresh, local cuisine and soak in the sunlight.

I was particularly excited to find this recipe for prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, as it not only involves my favorite vegetable, but it requires minimal ingredients and prep time. After all, who wants to spend hours in the kitchen when the sun has finally revealed itself again? But never fear- this hors d’oeuvre stands out despite – or perhaps because of – its simplicity. The prosciutto (a thinly-sliced, dry-cured Italian ham) adds richness and a bit of salt to the grassy taste of asparagus. The pan-seared meat develops a nice crust which complements the vibrant green of the asparagus spears. No wilted, colorless asparagus in this kitchen! Trust me- this is finger food that you wouldn’t dare pass up.

Best of all, it makes for a quick-and-easy party appetizer, and can be assembled in advance and fried just a few minutes before guests arrive. For best results, invest in high-quality prosciutto from your local deli and use fresh asparagus when it’s in season.

To pick out the best asparagus in the grocery store, look for firm stalks (not limp) with a bright green or violet-green color. The tips of the asparagus should be tightly closed. To store, refrigerate immediately and keep stalks moist by either trimming the stems and wrapping in a damp paper towel, or standing up in a jar with water. To cook, simply rinse and snap off the bottom of the spear, which may be woody or tough.

If you’re scouting for fresh asparagus, look for it in the early spring near ditches, fences or riverbeds where there is plenty of moisture nearby. Mature asparagus resembles a small tree or fern, with thin green branches. Look around the plant for thick stems of asparagus- that’s what you want to eat! Just remember your manners and ask before you pick if you are on someone’s land (a smile and a handshake go a long way!)

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

Ingredients
12 asparagus spears
6 prosciutto slices
Butter

Directions
Cut or snap woody ends off of washed asparagus spears. Cut prosciutto strips into two halves, going lengthways, so you end up with 12 strips.

Place a prosciutto strip on a chopping board at a 45 degree angle. Place one of the asparagus spears on top of the meat, perpendicular to it. The tip of the asparagus should be lined up with the bottom of the prosciutto strip. Wrap the bottom end of prosciutto over the asparagus and, holding the meat tight, start rolling the asparagus up.

Heat some butter in a large, flat frying pan to sizzling hot. Fry wrapped asparagus spears for 1-2 minutes on each side or until prosciutto is brown and crispy. Do it in batches if preparing more asparagus than can fit in a pan.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Source: Modified slightly from http://eatdrinkpaleo.com.au/prosciutto-wrapped-asparagus-recipe/