12 Days: Grilled Asparagus with Queso Fresco & Prosciutto

Asparagus w Prosciutto Cheese 1 12 Days: Grilled Asparagus with Queso Fresco & Prosciutto

Party invitations are starting to maraud my inbox; leaving the morning after Halloween and arriving home in mid-November, it’s suddenly time to look at the calendar and check off dates for parties and cookie exchanges (maybe another this year?) and all the fun stuff that leads up to Christmas, and think about all the baking there is to be done, and dream up food that can be eaten with your fingers. (For the aforementioned party, of course.)

Asparagus w Prosciutto Cheese 4 12 Days: Grilled Asparagus with Queso Fresco & Prosciutto

Since Christmas is in Six! Weeks! I thought I’d post 12 days of holiday-inspired recipes (cliché I know, but there’s no way around it) – two each week: breakfasty things and gifty things and cocktail party things, and then give a fun kitchen toy away each Friday. Deal? And Wednesday’s recipe will hint at the giveaway on Friday. Fun and games! This particular recipe counts as party food and brunch food. Double whammy.

Asparagus w Prosciutto Cheese 5 12 Days: Grilled Asparagus with Queso Fresco & Prosciutto

I know asparagus season is long gone, but these are really crazy tasty, the perfect combination of gooey-salty-crunchy, and can be assembled ahead and finished up in the oven or skillet or on the grill in a few minutes. Every December our Christmas party theme is polyester and cheese – wear polyester, bring cheese – and we wind up with a dining room table practically buckling under the weight of all the dairy products. Besides chunks of cheese, cheese balls and baked brie, there’s usually a batch or two of homemade cheese crackers and maybe some feta marinated in garlicky olive oil. This year I’ll splint spears of asparagus with long chunks of queso fresco, held in place with a piece of tacky prosciutto, which holds everything tightly in place as it cooks.

Wrapping asparagus 12 Days: Grilled Asparagus with Queso Fresco & Prosciutto

All three components of these little tasties go well with balsamic – a dribble of balsamic reduction is never a bad idea (not too much if you’re eating with your fingers), or for something really indulgent, mix up a batch of hollandaise – maybe with pepper and Pecorino? Thick enough for dipping, or dribbling overtop if these wind up on a platter for brunch.

Asparagus w Prosciutto Cheese 2 12 Days: Grilled Asparagus with Queso Fresco & Prosciutto

London Drugs has offered up prizes for our holiday series, and so I browsed the kitchen appliances aisle for some things Santa might bring those of us who like to cook. An indoor grill would work well for these – I don’t have one, but if you’re not the type to pull on your boots and trudge outside to fire up the snowy barbecue, it might be worth adding to your wish list.

Asparagus w Prosciutto Cheese 3 12 Days: Grilled Asparagus with Queso Fresco & Prosciutto

Grilled Asparagus with Queso Fresco & Prosciutto

1 bunch thick asparagus
1 pkg. Queso Fresco (I used Fresk-O white fresh semi-firm cheese, made in Alberta)
1 pkg. thinly sliced prosciutto

balsamic reduction or Hollandaise, for serving (optional)

Preheat the grill to medium-high.

Snap the tough ends of the asparagus off where they naturally break. (This isn’t necessary when using Edgar Farms asparagus, as they harvest theirs by hand.) Cut the Queso Fresco into 1/4-1/3″ thick slices and place one piece up against each asparagus stalk; wrap a single (or half) slice of prosciutto around it to hold it on.

Grill for 3-4 minutes, turning as necessary, until the asparagus is charred, the prosciutto is crisp on the edges and shrinks tighter around the cheese and asparagus, and the cheese is oozing a bit out each end. Serve immediately.

Pecorino & Pepper Hollandaise

1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
juice of half a lemon (about 1 1/2 Tbsp.)
1/2 cup butter
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

Place the egg yolk and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and pulse to combine. Put the butter into a small saucepan or Pyrex measuring cup and heat on the stovetop or in the microwave until melted and hot. With the motor running, slowly pour the butter into the blender through the feed tube (or hole in the lid) until it’s all incorporated and the mixture is slightly thick. Grind in some black pepper, add the cheese and pulse to combine.

Serve soon (it will solidify once refrigerated). Makes about 1 cup.

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November 13 2013 10:50 pm | appetizers and veg and vegetarian

22 Responses to “12 Days: Grilled Asparagus with Queso Fresco & Prosciutto”

  1. Barb Bamber on 13 Nov 2013 at 10:58 pm #

    This is awesome.. I was looking for an appetizer.. went to twitter to see what you’re cooking up.. then came here! This will be perfect, now that’s a Christmas gift.. in advance:D Thanks so much!

  2. Amy on 14 Nov 2013 at 5:23 am #

    I love asparagus! These look amazing!

  3. Erica B. on 14 Nov 2013 at 8:51 am #

    Asparagus bundles of joy! Cookie exchange? Did I read that right? If so I’m in! :)

  4. CathyH on 14 Nov 2013 at 11:36 am #

    These look delicious! A must try, for sure. By the way, your Kale and Brussels Slaw has became a favourite in our house. I also add some dried cherries or blueberries to it.

  5. Colleen on 14 Nov 2013 at 11:53 am #

    Looks delicious.

  6. Dare on 14 Nov 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    This recipe comes at a perfect time. I was looking for a delicious finger food for a weekend get together!

  7. Silvi on 14 Nov 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    Just found your website, 2 recipes tried and both a hit! Can’t wait to make this, need to find Queso!

  8. Jennifer on 14 Nov 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    Hmmmm…… Erica b caught onto the cookie exchange!

  9. Karen on 14 Nov 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    Just bought some asparagus that was on sale at my local market. It is no thicker than an HB pencil so may have to wait ’till sping to try this.

  10. Susan on 15 Nov 2013 at 8:15 am #

    Julie,
    I want to make this tonight for my son’s birthday, but can’t find the cheese. I live in Calgary, can you tell me where you purchased yours? Thanks! I think my son will think he died and went to heaven…..

  11. Cory on 15 Nov 2013 at 9:17 am #

    mmmm, love this kind of dish. gotta try this

  12. Lana on 15 Nov 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Oh my goodness. That looks AMAZING. Mmmmm..

  13. StephanieW on 15 Nov 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    This looks amazing! I love asparagus with prosciutto, but I’ve never thought of trying it with Queso Fresco and basalmic reduction… genius! :)

  14. jeri on 15 Nov 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    I try to cook seasonal most of the time, but for holidays I’ll break my own rule, especially for something as decadent as this. A smoking hot cast iron frying pan makes a good substitute for a grill. Just remember to turn on the exhaust fan.

  15. Laurie from Richmond on 16 Nov 2013 at 5:23 am #

    Oh, thank you, Julie. All the stores have now is thick asparagus, so this is a treat. I’ll substitute bacon and some local firm fresh cheese since I can’t get the queso fresco, and I’ll make hollandaise as well as the balsamic
    Yum
    :)

  16. Rose Thawer on 16 Nov 2013 at 5:48 am #

    Love asparagus, so gotta try this one!

  17. Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie) on 16 Nov 2013 at 8:33 am #

    How delicious is this! I must try it this season.

  18. Lorelle on 16 Nov 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    Where do you buy the quest fresco?

  19. Carol on 16 Nov 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    These look pretty tasty – but with the prosciutto I wouldn’t tag them as vegetarian!! :)

  20. molly on 17 Nov 2013 at 7:43 am #

    thinking this might convert a few asparagus-fence-sitters…

  21. Andie on 30 Dec 2013 at 12:14 am #

    Uh, why is this in the “vegetarian” section? Unless this is some sort of amazing “mock” prosciutto, it’s about as non-vegetarian friendly as they come…

  22. Adriana on 22 Jun 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    Just tried this recipe with bacon instead of prosciutto. Didn’t wrap as well so had to use toothpicks to hold it together. Still yummy. I love grilled cheese!

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