Asparagus Cordon Bleu is easy, impressive and elegant enough for your finest dinner party!
Spring is when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love. Spring is when my thoughts turn to vegetables! They’re showing up incredibly fresh in grocery stores and hubby and I are planting them now for future veggie abundance!
Honestly, I don’t think there’s any vegetable sexier or better to photograph than asparagus. Amiright with this photo….
Lower priced asparagus at the market is one of the first harbingers of spring. Although we have an established asparagus patch, it takes a while for us to harvest enough for a full meal.
When buying asparagus, make sure it’s bright green, difficult to bend and without any sign of shriveling. The tips should be closed and have no sign of coming into contact with water (the tips deteriorate rapidly when in contact with moisture).
To determine how much to trim from the asparagus, bend one of the stalks until it breaks. Where it breaks is where you should cut the remainder as they’re all typically the same size in the bunch.
To get this lovely dish going, you will need to blanch these beautiful babies. Prepare an ice bath, then get a pot of water to a rolling boil and throw in a TON of salt–like a good tablespoon. According to a personal chef mentor of mine (Hi, Jim!), the water should taste like the ocean. Drop the asparagus in for about 30 seconds or so, just until it turns bright green, then quickly remove and drop it into the ice bath. There’s a whole bunch of chemistry going on in that process, however, it’s this “shocking” process that is going to set the color and keep it from turning any sort of funky green color later. Afterward, dab it dry on a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
Divide the asparagus into six even bundles, wrap them in prosciutto (also know as Parma ham), place in a baking dish, sprinkle with Gruyere cheese and breadcrumbs, bake and you have a wonderful show-stopping spring side dish! Sooo easy!
You don’t need to use imported Italian prosciutto–domestic will do! Also, this Grand Cru, produced in Wisconsin is a perfectly acceptable substitute for expense Gruyere cheese.
This dish is rustic yet elegant. Asparagus, prosciutto, melty cheese with a crispy breadcrumb topping. Mmmwhaaaaah!!!
Asparagus Cordon Bleu is easy and can be assembled in advance. It's impressive and elegant enough for your finest dinner party!
- 2 bunches of asparagus, approximately 2 pounds, tough ends trimmed
- olive oil or cooking spray
- 6 thin slices prosciutto
- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup panko
- chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking dish by brushing with olive oil or spraying with cooking spray.
Prepare an ice bath. Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Add approximately 1 tablespoon of salt. Drop the asparagus into the salted water. Cook 15-30 seconds or until asparagus turns bright green. Remove and immediately drop into the ice bath. Let cool thoroughly then pat dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
Divide the asparagus into six even bundles. Wrap each in the prosciutto and place in the prepared baking dish.
Top with grated cheese.
Combine butter and panko in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and breadcrumbs are browned.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve immediately.
MAKE AHEAD: Can be prepared 24 hours in advance. Assemble and refrigerate. When ready to bake, preheat oven and bake per directions.