Quick Recipe – Asparagus baked in Parma Ham

This is another recipe that we used over the Jubilee weekend when we went back to Somerset to visit the family. It is so simple and quick to cook up, either as a starter or to go with a main meal.

As my Mum has always said and to which I agree:

‘I love English asparagus and wait every year for it to appear at a local fruit farm or even supermarkets. It is a short season but I will not buy asparagus from foreign sources, somehow in the autumn and winter it just doesn’t seem right. One day when my vegetable garden is enlarged I shall grow it myself.’

Asparagus is really versatile and can be cooked in various ways, just steamed, with butter (plain or garlic), or hollandaise sauce. Grilled on the barbecue or baked in the oven. The woody ends, which are snapped off before cooking, can be added to stocks for an additional flavour.

This recipe was first made when my Mum had a bunch of asparagus and some Parma Ham and wanted to stretch both to make a starter go further. The Parma ham can be cut into strips and rolled around each spear before baking, but it is fiddly and this is the simplest and quickest method as the Parma Ham always breaks up during cooking. We have made this loads over the years, so thought I would share it with everyone.

The flavour of the Asparagus is simply delicious after roasting with the Parma Ham!

Ingredients:
1 Bundle of fresh Asparagus – (English)
8 Slices of Parma Ham or Prosciutto
Olive or rapeseed oil
Parmesan shavings
Freshly ground black pepper
1 non-stick baking tray

Oven 200C; 400F; Fan 180C Gas Mark 5/6

1. Wash the asparagus then take hold of the woody end and snap it.

2. Lay four slices of Parma Ham onto the baking tray and place the asparagus on top, brush the spears lightly with a little of the oil.

3. Sprinkle with black pepper to taste

4. Lay the other slices of Parma Ham on top.

5. Put in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, checking to make sure the ham is not burnt and the asparagus is soft (al dente is preferred)

6. Remove from the oven and put on a warm dish and using a potato peeler shave Parmesan cheese over the top if required.

7. Serve with crusty bread and/or a rocket and tomato salad, dressed with a balsamic and oil dressing.

NB – this can be part of an antipasto or a starter.

Enjoy!

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