The Pig is the Blanket
… and in the blanket is a stalk of bright green, crisp asparagus. This fancy appetizer is anything but complicated. Don’t wait to impress your friends with this. Splurge on yourself – you’ll see how a little bit of a fancy ingredient can go a long way.
fresh asparagus stalks
thinly sliced prosciutto
1. Fill a large soup pot with water and bring it to a boil.
2. To prep the asparagus, take each spear and bend it slowly, little by little from the bottom and working your way up, until it snaps. Do this with each, or use that first stalk as a guide to where you should cut the rest
3. Add a tablespoon of salt to the boiling water, then the asparagus. Cook 3 minutes, until slightly cooked, but still bright green. Remove from the boiling water and drop into an ice bath - a separate bowl with ice water that will stop the asparagus from cooking and keep its bright green color. Remove the asparagus from the bowl and place in a strainer. This is called blanching - a great technique for cooking veggies (green beans, zucchini, etc).
4. Use a knife to trim off any excess fat from the prosciutto and cut each slice in half. Wrap each stalk of asparagus with a slice of prosciutto and line on a serving dish.
fresh parmesan cheese
balsamic glaze (optional)
1. Preheat 1 tsp olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Place the prosciutto in the pan and cook until crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside until cooled, then crumble with your fingers. (That's Right! ...fresh bacon bits!)
2. Add some more olive oil to the pan and the trimmed asparagus. Saute for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned but still bright green and crispy. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and top with fresh parmesan cheese and crispy prosciutto.
Get Fancy: Drizzle a sweet balsamic glaze, homemade or store bought, over the asparagus. To prepare the glaze, add 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and let the vinegar simmer until it reduces to about ¼ cup, or until it is the consistency of syrup. Transfer the leftover glaze to a small reusable container. This glaze is delicious over a caprese salad, roasted chicken, and much more.