If you are looking for an elegant and succulent side dish to complement a dinner party menu, Prosciutto Wrapped Roasted Asparagus Bundles will be your go-to recipe. This is a super easy, make-ahead dish to go alongside salmon, chicken or pretty much any entree you like. And of course, the prosciutto is what literally brings it all together.
There’s nothing worse, NOTHING, than mushy, puke green asparagus straight out of a can. My first introduction to such an atrocity was years ago, and I swore I would never try asparagus again. It was bland, had no color and tasted like baby food out of a jar. But as time went on, I eventually discovered a green, vibrant vegetable that would completely contradict my previous experience. It confused yet delighted my taste buds. These stalks, when properly roasted, will deliver tender but crisp veggie perfection. Please, whatever you do, don’t open another can of asparagus as long as you live.
A few indicators when picking the best asparagus
- Choose firm stalks that are bright green and do not appear woody or wrinkled. You’re looking for a nice firm feel, one that’s not limp.
- The tips should be either bright green or have a purple tint. Look for it to be tightly closed, not mushy or soft.
- As for the bottom portion, it should not be dry and shriveled (an indication that they are old). If so turn around and walk to the Brussel sprouts for your dinner tonight. Then you can check again tomorrow.
- There’s been a misconception that the skinny stalks are more tender than the thicker stalks. That’s just not correct. When choosing asparagus, it’s all about personal preference. Choose what you like best. They’re both exceptionally delicious.
Storing, Prepping, and Roasting
- There are two ways to keep your asparagus fresh. 1) Cut about an inch off the bottom portions. Stand them straight up in a container that will hold the entire bunch. Add about an inch or two of water, loosely cover with a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. You’ll want to change the water if it becomes cloudy. 2) If you are planning on serving them sooner, wrap a wet paper towel around the bottom portion of the bunch, place in a large ziplock bag, and store in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
- Asparagus is grown in a sandy soil. Therefore, a gritty residue may be lurking in the tips. Before roasting, fill a large bowl with cold water and let your asparagus sit for a little bit then rinse thoroughly to remove any unwanted grittiness.
- Finding the tender part of the asparagus is easy when you hold a stalk horizontally in both hands and snap it between your fingers. The asparagus will break at the point where the toughest part of the bottom begins. Then take the rest of the bunch, use your knife and cut at approximately that same point.
- There are some cooks that use a potato peeler and remove the outer skin of the asparagus for a more tender result. You can definitely do that, but I have never found the outer skin to be a problem for me. Again, it’s a preference thing.
The Presentation – Prosciutto Wrapped Roasted Asparagus Bundles
- Now for the elegant side of asparagus. I’m all about the presentation. I’ve always believed you, first of all, eat with your eyes. So one of my favorite ways to prepare asparagus is to bundle them together and wrap them with prosciutto. It’s incredibly simple yet provides a classy visual next to your Pan Seared Salmon dish or Roasted Leg of Lamb. I’ve also wrapped it with strips of bacon, but if I’m going to serve it at a dinner party, the prosciutto gives it a more sophisticated feel.
- Prosciutto is quite delicate. Work with one piece at a time and cover the remaining pieces until you need them. Half the prosciutto lengthwise and lay your asparagus bundle crosswise on it. Then simply roll the prosciutto around the bundle as you gently pull it tight. See, it’s a cinch, right?
- The bundles can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Pull them out when you are ready to roast them.
Roasting Asparagus in the Oven
- Number one rule above all others: DO NOT OVERCOOK your asparagus. Remember above when I talked about a mushy mess. Well, overcooking is the sure-fire means to this end. You definitely want a really hot oven though – 450° F. But 12-15 minutes is it for the roasting time.
- You are looking for a nice tender stalk, but still crisp, not soft or squishy. And remember, the asparagus will continue to cook after you bring it out of the oven. Remove the bundles from the hot baking sheet and place them on a wire rack.
- There are plenty of vegetables that are great as leftovers, but asparagus by itself is not one of them. They will become mushy the next day. They are wonderful as additions in other things, for instance, a risotto, quiche or cream of asparagus soup.
- You don’t need a lot of spices or condiments for the Prosciutto Wrapped Roasted Asparagus Bundles. A drizzle of olive oil, kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, lemon zest, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice will enhance the flavor of your asparagus without overpowering the vegetable. Simple elegance is what you’re trying to achieve with this dish.
There you have it! A presentation of both beauty and class with a simple flavor of summertime. If you are looking for some other veggies or side dishes to go with your dinner party, please check out these recipes: Roasted Candied Carrots, Roasted Veggies with Garlic and Herbs or Hasselback Buttery Potato Ring.
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Prosciutto Wrapped Roasted Asparagus Bundles
A presentation of both beauty and class with a simple flavor of summertime. A super easy but elegant side dish to complement any dinner party. Prosciutto is what literally brings it all together.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 asparagus bundles
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Roasting
- Cuisine: Vegetable
- 2 lbs asparagus, trimmed
- 6 slices Prosciutto
- Olive Oil to drizzle
- Kosher Salt, to taste
- Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Freshly Squeezed Juice from 1 Lemon
- Heat the oven to 450°F.
- Remove a slice of prosciutto and half it lengthwise. Lay 6-8 asparagus stalks crosswise on the prosciutto and roll the prosciutto around the bundle of asparagus as you gently pull it tight. Place the bundles on a baking sheet.
- Drizzle the asparagus bundles with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and grate the lemon zest onto the asparagus.
- Roast in a 450° F oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and transfer the bundles to a wire rack. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over each bundle and serve immediately.
- Serving Size: 1 asparagus bundle
- Calories: 123
- Sugar: 2 g
- Sodium: 759 mg
- Fat: 8 g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Unsaturated Fat: 2 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 5 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 11 g
- Cholesterol: 25 mg
Keywords: asparagus, roasted asparagus, asparagus bundles, prosciutto wrapped asparagus, vegetable side dish, easy side dish, veggies, make ahead recipes