Crispy Asparagus Straws with Port Fig Butter and Prosciutto

Since Valentine’s Day I’ve been planning to recreate dishes that hubby and I learned to make in a couples cooking class as part of our romantic weekend. It was such a fun experience and so different from cooking at home which usually goes like this:

Husband: “How can I help?”

Me: “Well….you could peel potatoes”

Husband peels potatoes as slow as molasses. I hoover over his shoulder already irritated by one thing or another and exhale a loud sigh.

Husband, annoyed: “What did I do now?”

I say to cut them smaller, place them in the water, to hurry up and get them done today… Now husband exhales a loud sigh. I know peeling potatoes is not a rocket science but see, I have tiny control issues.

With 7 other couples in the class we prepared these asparagus straws, clam soup, Cesar salad with dressing and croutons from scratch, roasted fennel and carrots, pork roast glazed with fig butter and anise. For dessert we had ice cream with pears poached in Port wine and drizzled with chocolate syrup. It was SO good! Husband was in charge of the Cesar salad and he did an exceptional job. We could keep the recipes and I was looking forward to make this menu for some other special occasion.

Unfortunately, we grabbed the wrong handouts before we left and only this asparagus recipe somehow found its way home. Oh, well…

Makes 12

Port Fig Butter

4 dried Figs
2 tablespoons Port Wine
4 tablespoons unsalted Butter (room temperature)
¼ teaspoon Salt

Crispy Asparagus Straws

1 bunch of 12 Asparagus Spears, woody ends cut (use ticker spears with tight heads)
3 sheets Phyllo Dough, thawed
3 tablespoons melted Port Fig Butter
6 pieces of Prosciutto, cut in half crosswise
2 ounces Parmesan Cheese, medium grated



Make the port fig butter first.

Place figs in a bowl of a food processor. Pulse just until the figs are finely chopped, about 30 seconds. Transfer the figs to a small bowl and set aside.
Heat the port in a small saucepan for about 1 minute to warm. Pour the port over the figs and let soak until absorbed, 10 to 20 minutes.
Place the butter in the bowl of the food processor. Add the figs and the salt. Pulse just until well combined with no chunks of butter remaining. Form into a log and let stand – may be refrigerated for later use or heat until very soft and almost melted to use for the phyllo sheets in the rest of the recipe.

Steam asparagus until bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Cool.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. Place one sheet of phyllo on a dry surface, brush lightly with port fig butter and cut into 4 rectangular pieces, approximately 5×7. Be sure to keep the remaining phyllo sheets covered to prevent drying. Note: do not cover with damp towel as advised in many recipes because the sheets are thin and delicate and will quickly turn into a mush. Cover them with foil, clear plastic wrap or dry towel. Work quickly to assemble.

Place one piece of prosciutto on the phyllo lining up the short edge. Place asparagus spear on top letting tip of asparagus extend beyond dough. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the cheese. Roll up and secure the edge with more butter. Repeat until all spears are constructed. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle again with more cheese. Cover tips with foil and bake until golden brown 5 to 8 minutes. Serve warm whole or cut into pieces.

This appetizer can be made in advance. After constructing straws, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 hours. Bake as instructed.



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publisher and creative director at All that's Jas
Jas is a cheesecake addict and the author of Balkan Comfort Food cookbook available on Amazon. You can download a free excerpt of the book when you subscribe to All that's Jas newsletter updates. To learn more about Jas visit her About page.
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