Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus with Parmesan and a Hint of Chipotle. These are so, so good! I've been meaning to make these phyllo wrapped asparagus for Thanksgiving...of last year! It was a recipe I had seen while looking for other festive/holiday recipes...I might have seen it on another blog or maybe a cookbook. I can't really remember, but I thought they were really pretty when I first saw them. It took some time for me to actually make them. Just never got the chance. Either, I didn't have the phyllo or I didn't have the asparagus.
Well, the other day, when the asparagus was on sale, I bought a bundle. I placed the asparagus in my fridge, meaning to make them alongside some grilled meat. But I noticed I had some salad mix. It really needed to be used up. I didn't want it would go bad on me. I figured the asparagus would last longer in the fridge. So, I made the salad instead.
Yesterday, I needed to make lunch. I had this small package of phyllo dough in my fridge that was waiting to be used up. I decided to make my Cheese Burek(or placinta de branza). The cheese burek would provide a quick lunch...without too much fuss.. While I was going through my fridge, pulling out the necessary ingredients...the cottage cheese, feta, eggs, etc., I spotted the asparagus in the vegetable drawer. Hmmmm...an idea came to me. Couldn't I make some phyllo wrapped asparagus? I mean, I had the phyllo dough all ready. I could use a few sheets from the cheese burek pie. The pie wouldn't miss it:). So I made the phyllo wrapped asparagus, which I had been meaning to make for such a long time. Oh, I am so glad I did!! These have got to be my favorite. Seriously. They are so good, that I could have eaten all of them. For sure, I will be making these again.
I chose to keep them rather simple with just a small sprinkle of Parmesan and a pinch of smoked chipotle powder for some spice(purely optional). There are other versions where you wrap some prosciutto around the asparagus and then roll it up along with the phyllo dough. I didn't want the asparagus rolls to be too heavy, so I skipped the prosciutto. These were delicious...a tender asparagus inside and a crispy phyllo on the outside. The Parmesan provided just enough flavor while the chipotle gave it that tinge of smoky spice.
These wrapped asparagus look so elegant. Perfect for a gathering... as an appetizer or even as a side dish. Best when served warm. But, you know, I liked them even after they cooled off. You can prepare them ahead(cover them, so they won't dry out) and bake them later on during the day. Give these a try and let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy....
You will need: you can do one... or as many as you need
phyllo dough sheets, thawed
butter, melted( I used olive oil)
salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.( I used my toaster oven at 35o˚).
Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus. Heat a pan of water to boiling. Add a generous pinch or two of salt. Boil for a couple of minutes until the asparagus is almost tender. Drain and pat dry. Cool. Unwrap the phyllo and cut the stack in half if the sheets are big. (I had a 13x9 phyllo sheet and just folded it in half.) You basically want the phyllo to be the length of the asparagus spears(folded in double). Cover the phyllo with a damp towel to keep it from drying out. Take 1 sheet of phyllo and brush lightly with some melted butter(or olive oil). Sprinkle with some Parmesan, a sprinkle of chipotle(optional), a tiny bit of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Fold the corner of the other end...you don't have to do this(just my own personal idea), but I find it is prettier. It sort of shows you the distinct layers of the phyllo dough. Roll up, jelly-roll style.
Place each piece, seam side down, on a baking sheet. Brush with more melted butter( or olive oil). Repeat until all the asparagus spears are used up. Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Do check on them, as you don't want to them to burn. Sprinkle with a bit more Parmesan cheese and a pinch of chipotle pepper before serving.