Summertime entertaining should be simple, fresh, and breezy. Your want to spend your time mingling with guests and noshing on appetizers not slicing, dicing, and roasting in a steamy kitchen.
That’s where Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus and Mascarpone Cheese comes in. This is my go-to appetizer for entertaining. It’s easy, elegant, and never fails to elicit rave reviews from guests.
In fact, at my last dinner party, while I was serving dessert, one of my guests asked, “Actually, do you have anymore of those prosciutto-wrapped asparagus spears?” This he wanted over gelato and homemade biscotti. I told you they were good.
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus and Mascarpone Cheese
Yields about 20
Shopping note: Although you can purchase prosciutto pre-sliced at most supermarkets, I recommend going to an Italian deli and purchasing a high quality meat that the butcher will slice for you. Ask for it thin but not so paper thin that it’ll tear.
2 pounds asparagus, about 40 spears
Olive oil, for drizzling
A sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound sliced prosciutto, about 20 slices
1 (8-ounce) tub mascarpone cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
2. Snap off the ends of the asparagus spears and place in a straight line down the middle of the baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, turning the spears until coated. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until asparagus is tender and lightly browned. Cool.
3. On a flat work surface, lay a slice of prosciutto (if the slice is too wide, simply slice it down the middle to create 2 thinner pieces). Dab each end with some mascarpone cheese. Lay 2 asparagus spears in the middle of the prosciutto. Roll the prosciutto up, securing the ends with the cheese. Place on a platter. Serve at room temperature.
Here are 5 more simple summertime prosciutto appetizers:
- Classic Prosciutto-Wrapped Melon: Slice cantaloupe or watermelon into long wedges; wrap with a slice of prosciutto. Arrange on a platter and serve as is, or sprinkle with fresh mint and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Fresh Figs: Slice an X in the top of a fresh fig and fill the cavity with a dollop of goat cheese. Wrap with a slice of prosciutto. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the prosciutto is just crispy and the cheese begins to melt. Arrange figs on a platter; sprinkle with fresh chopped rosemary and sea salt, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and quality honey.
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Tomatoes and Mozzarella: Lay a slice of prosciutto on a flat work surface. One on end place a basil leaf, a cherry tomato, and a small cube of fresh mozzarella; roll the prosciutto up. Skewer the tomato and cheese with a long toothpick. Place on a platter; sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and quality aged balsamic vinegar.
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Grilled Peaches and Blue Cheese: Slice ripe but firm peaches in half and brush flesh with olive oil. Grill flesh side down for 2 minutes, or until brown marks appear. Fill each cavity with a dollop of blue cheese. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each half. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, and drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar.
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp: Wrap a slice of prosciutto tightly around an extra large shrimp with the tail attached. Grill for 2 minutes, flipping once, until shrimp turns bright orange and opaque and prosciutto is crispy. Serve with a pesto sauce for dipping.