Thursday, January 24, 2013

At Home: Jaleo Asparagus with Spanish Cured Ham

It's a new year and I have a new series to feature called Restaurant Recreations...At Home.  “Simple ingredients treated with respect,” is Chef Jose Andres' recipe for a perfect dish. This philosophy is seen in his Spanish tapas restaurant, Jaleo.  The simple preparation of Asparagus with Spanish Cured Ham is perfect for parties.  Be sure to use the freshest asparagus you can find and this easy tapa will surely impress your friends and family.

Left: Chef Andres; Right: The dish from Jaleo
Jaleo Asparagus with Spanish Cured Ham (Makes 4 servings)
  • 20 thin stalk asparagus 
  • 4 slices jamón Serrano (Spanish cured ham)
  • Spanish extra-virgin olive oil

- Brush a large skillet or flat griddle with a little olive oil and heat over medium heat.
- Divide the asparagus into 4 bundles of 5 stalks. Wrap each bundle with a slice of ham.
- Place the bundles in the skillet. Cook the asparagus on each side until they caramelize slightly and the ham becomes crispy, 5-8 minutes.
- Note: Be careful not to let the bundles over cook. You want the asparagus to stay crisp and for the ham not to burn.  If you can only find thick stalks of asparagus, don’t worry. All you need to do is blanch them for a few minutes in boiling water before wrapping them with the ham to ensure they cook evenly in the skillet.

I made these more bite size as appetizers for a party.  I simply cut the asparagus spears in half before wrapping, so that they were smaller and were a big crowd pleaser. If you can't find Spanish ham you can use prosciutto too. Try recreating this restaurant dish for yourself!

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