Nothing says "SPRING" to me like the thin, bright green spears of asparagus.
(Except, perhaps, for the first sunny day after months and months of gray skies and torrential rain...) One of my favorite ways to eat asparagus is simply blanched or steamed until just tender, drizzled with a light touch of fruity olive oil and sprinkled with salt.
Yet no matter how hard I try to be 'proper,' 'polite,' or 'grown up,' I simply cannot eat it with a fork and knife...I have to pick it up gently and eat it with my fingers, snapping off small bites with my teeth. To me, asparagus has always been a finger food. I especially love the surprise of finding it on appetizer platters for dipping in hummus or creamy vegetable dips.
But when I saw this appetizer on the first few pages of Gourmet magazine when I picked it up this month, I was sold: Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus with truffle butter. You already know how I feel about truffles, but this is finger food at it's finest, complete with a big, welcome "hello" to Spring. Plus, with all the basketball games going on lately, there was even a perfect excuse to make it.
Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus with truffle butter, from Gourmet
1 lb. medium asparagus (not too thin, or it won't stand up to being wrapped in the salty goodness of the prosciutto)
salt, to taste
1/2 tsp. white truffle oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/3 lb. of thinly sliced proscuitto (having your butcher place wax paper between each slice is a huge time-saver and makes for a much prettier presentation)
Prepare a large bowl filled with ice and cold water. Trim the asparagus and steam over boiling water until crisp-tender (~4 min.), then place in the cold water with tongs to stop the cooking. Drain and pat dry gently. Season with salt.
Stir oil into butter until incorporated. (Alternatively, make your own truffle butter with real truffles if you've got them). Thinly coat the slices of prosciutto with the truffle butter, then roll up the asparagus spears in the prosciutto, leaving the tip and end visible. You can roll your asparagus packages up a little more than I did - I didn't read it as carefully as I should have and only wrapped the ends, but it was still a big hit :)