Asparagus & Prosciutto (or Swiss) Twists

Asparagus & Proscuitto and Asparagus & Swiss Twists with Zingy Mustard Sauce

Asparagus & Proscuitto and Asparagus & Swiss Twists with Zingy Mustard Sauce

Your guests will suspect you're a rock star when you present these impressive twists. They'll know you are when they take that first bite!  Puff pastry strips that have been spread with a little grainy mustard sauce and covered with prosciutto or Swiss are wrapped around blanched asparagus spears, brushed with eggs wash, and sprinkled with black pepper and shredded Parmesan.  The grainy mustard sauce used to spread on the pastry is also used as the base for the dipping sauce.  One bite and this appetizer will shoot to the top of your appetizer chart! 

12 medium stalks of asparagus, hard ends removed and trimmed to 6-7 inches

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed

3/4 cup mayonnaise

3 Tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard

2 ounces of very-thinly sliced prosciutto OR

6-8 slices Swiss cheese, for vegetarian version

1/2 to 1 teaspoon Sriracha, depending on your taste

Few dashes of Worcestershire sauce

1 large egg, beaten thoroughly with 1 teaspoon of water (egg wash)

Finely grated, good quality Parmesan cheese

Freshly-ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425-degrees.  Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, or spray lightly with non-stick spray.

In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon, and a pinch of salt.  Set aside.

Bring a pot (large enough to hold the asparagus) of water to a boil.  In the meantime, place a cup or two of ice in a large bowl and cover with cold water (ice bath).  Set aside.

When the water boils, add the asparagus and cook (blanch) for about one minute.  Remove with tongs and place in the ice bath until they are cold.  Lay out on paper towels and pat with additional paper towel until completely dry.  Set aside while preparing the pastry.

Place the sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board.  Sprinkle with a little additional flour and roll gently with a rolling pin to about 12 X 8-inches.   Spread the pastry with a very thin layer of the mayo mixture (an offset spatula works great here).  Cover with a layer of either the prosciutto or Swiss cheese (there can be a few gaps, just cover as much as possible).  With a pastry or pizza cutter (or very sharp chefs knife, if you don't have one) cut in half in lengthwise.  Cut each half into 2, creating quarters.  Cut each quarter into thirds, resulting in 12 long strips of pastry covered with either cheese or prosciutto. 

Place a strip of the pastry in front of you, then place a piece of asparagus at the bottom of the strip at an angle, with the tip lower and the end slightly higher.  (The pastry should cover the lower third of the asparagus tip.)  Pinch the pastry together a bit, then roll (retaining the angle) so that the edges of the pastry just barely touch as it is rolled.  Pinch the pastry together at the bottom of the asparagus, trimming if needed.  (I overlap it a bit if there's not too much excess!.)

Place each piece on the prepared baking sheets as they are completed.  When finished, brush all of the pieces lightly with egg wash, then sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan and black pepper.

Bake for 22-27 minutes, until a dark golden brown.  (Don't underbake or the pastry will be wet inside rather than crisp!) 

Add the Sriracha and Worcestershire to the remaining mayo-Dijon mixture and place in a serving bowl.

Place the pastries on a platter and serve with the sauce on the side.

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