This recipe is the perfect example of how a single seasonal ingredient like asparagus can be transformed into a spectacular appetizer when paired with a few other choice ingredients. Blanched asparagus and creamy herbed cheese are enveloped by paper-thin slices of prosciutto. Although tying the chives is a bit time-consuming, the wow factor makes it worthwhile. If you are pressed for time you can skip the chives all together, but they do add a fresh flavor component to these delicious bundles.
Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Bundles
1 lb. Asparagus, trimmed and peeled from tip down
1 package spreadable herb cheese, such as Alouette*
12 slices Prosciutto di Parma, sliced paper-thin
1 bunch chives (choose the longest available)
1. Prepare water bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water, set aside. Blanche asparagus by dropping into boiling water for 1 minute or until bright green. Strain asparagus and rinse with cold water. Immediately plunge blanched asparagus into ice bath. Once cooled, strain asparagus, dry with paper towel and refrigerate until ready to use (can be done 1 day ahead).
2. Cut prosciutto slices in half to make 24 short pieces. Place ½ tsp. herb cheese at one end of the prosciutto halve and top with asparagus. Carefully roll prosciutto around asparagus. Tie asparagus bundle with 1 chive.
* Herb goat cheese or cream cheese are good substitutes.