Spring is actually here! I prefer to take the higher road here; we still have a few stubborn patches of snow in our yard. Around here, spring means asparagus. I know people who hunt for wild asparagus along country roads. I haven’t done that yet, but I’m tempted.
This dish is something I dreamed up while I was supposed to be meditating during an acupuncture treatment. It was well worth the possible loss of a few peaceful moments. It’s a combination of my asparagus, bacon, and ricotta tart and my latest post, white bean tortilla rolls.
They may look like the white bean rolls, but the flavor is something else again. It’s amazing how flaky the egg roll wrappers become when blasted in a hot oven. Combined with tender asparagus, salty prosciutto and herb-flecked ricotta, these rolls are a perfect package. We’ve had them twice (Tom’s requested them more often) for a light dinner, but they’d be a great appetizer too.
A few tips: it’s worth it to measure the asparagus spears so they’re all the same length. They’ll fit in the egg roll wrappers, and they’ll look pretty. Also, take the time to peel the spears. That skin can be tough, which will make the rolls harder to eat. Don’t worry about being neat when wrapping the spears in prosciutto; they’ll be hidden in the egg roll wrappers.
makes 6 rolls
18 thick stalks asparagus (or about 30 very thin stalks)
1 1/2 cups ricotta (preferably homemade)
3-4 scallions, white and green parts, minced
1/4 cup minced parsley
3/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest (more if using store-bought ricotta)
salt and pepper
6 egg roll wrappers
6 slices prosciutto
1 tbs. oil
Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Rinse the asparagus spears. Lay one alongside an egg roll wrapper; trim the end so that the asparagus is just slightly longer than the wrapper. Now trim all the asparagus to the same length. Peel the stalks from just below the tips to the ends. Steam the asparagus, or place them in a large skillet, cover with water, and boil just until crisp-tender, 5 minutes at most. Pull them out and place on a towel to dry.
In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta, scallions, parsley, parmesan, and lemon zest. Taste and season well with salt and pepper. Spread about 1/4 cup on each egg roll wrapper, covering top to bottom but leaving about 1/2 inch uncovered on left and right sides.
Lay 3 stalks (or 5 if using thin asparagus) side by side on a slice of prosciutto and wrap them to hold them together. Carefully lay the bundle on the center of a prepared wrapper, with the tips just over the top edge. Moisten the bare edges of the wrapper with water and fold over. Brush the top with a little oil and place, seam side down, on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining asparagus, prosciutto, and wrappers.
Brush the tops lightly with oil. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the tops are browned. Gently flip the rolls and bake for 6-8 minutes longer until well browned and crisp on both sides.