Blog posts for bundles of asparagus wrapped in prosciutto are ubiquitous. Some are roasted until the prosciutto is crispy and some are wrapped at the last minute, after only the asparagus are cooked. I’ve even seen some that have cheese either under or on top of the prosciutto. Whatever kind you’re looking for, here are a few tips to save you some headaches:
- Precook the asparagus before roasting. Just a 2-3 minute simmer will cook the asparagus enough that it won’t be tough after a short time in the oven to crisp up the whole bundle. I don’t think I would use the very fat stalks, but if you have to, you should probably peel them before simmering.
- If like the prosciutto I always find, yours tears into pieces just trying to separate them—even when they have paper or plastic between the slices—don’t panic. Prosciutto pieces will stick to themselves and you can easily piece them together. Every single one of my slices tore into three identical pieces, one small square, one long straggly strip, and one nice looking rectangle that was large enough to go around the bundle itself. So I put the ugly duckling pieces on the inside and wrapped the big rectangle around the whole thing. No one would be the wiser, if I actually had company, instead of being in self-quarantine with just my husband.
I brushed mine with olive oil and roasted them at 400º for about 20 minutes.
Nothing says spring like fresh local asparagus. The season is about done here and the grocery store stock later on will not be as tender, probably because it’s picked too early wherever it comes from. Our local asparagus, even when the stalks look too thick, is always tender and the taste is incomparable. I wanted something grand to pair with the asparagus and the large Louisiana shrimp at Wegman’s was just the right item.
Everything but the orzo was grilled, then it was all combined at the last minute. Cooking the orzo in chicken stock created it’s own sauce, so it was really easy. I added one diced canned San Marzano tomato, some fresh garlic, and parsley to the stock as it was simmering to round out the flavors.
Grilled Shrimp and Spring Orzo
MARINATE THE SHRIMP
- 1 1/2 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon grated or roasted garlic
- 2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Mix all marinade ingredients and add to the shrimp in a large resealable bag. Toss to coat and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Just before grilling the shrimp, thread onto skewers. I don’t add salt until the shrimp are on the skewers ready to grill.
Set up your grill for about 350°-400°; I used 60 charcoal briquettes, turning them out of the chimney into the center of the grill.
- 2 large orange, red, or yellow bell peppers, halved and seeded
- 2 medium onions, cut in thick slices
- 1 lb or more asparagus stalks, trimming if necessary. I only added the 3″ tips to my dish, saving the grilled ends for other uses during the week.
- extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on vegetables
- salt & pepper
- Grill all the vegetables in stages, or as they fit on your grill. Set each aside until all are finished. I peeled my peppers when they were done.
- Asparagus tips: Place crosswise on the grill grate over direct heat, turning as needed to get some char on all sides, but not so much that they are burnt. then move them to the outer sides of the grill to continue cooking over indirect heat until done. I came this close to not dropping any through the grate until I was taking them off:
- Prepare the orzo before you grill the shrimp. Grill the shrimp at the last minute and place over the top of the pasta. Grill over direct heat just until done, only a few minutes on each side until all the shrimp are pink.
PREPARE THE ORZO
- 8 oz whole wheat orzo
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2-1 cup water
- 1 chopped canned plum tomato
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon grated or roasted garlic
Bring all the ingredients to a low boil, stirring often so the orzo doesn’t stick to the pan, then simmer for about ten minutes or until the orzo is tender. Stir in the chopped grilled vegetables, then top with the grilled shrimp.