In recent years I have been experimenting with green asparagus so often, I have almost forgotten the old monotony of “side-dishy” spears topped with sauce. While white asparagus is more delicate and trickier to both cook and serve, the green or violet thinner variety is one of the most versatile vegetables I know. These cute rolls confirmed once more its huge potential and added one more line to my beloved filo pastry recipes collection. Two reasons to believe that these are bound to become my staple treat throughout spring and summer.
Even though I did intend to combine filo pastry and asparagus, this fabulous idea was unfortunately not mine. In fact, after a quick search I realised that asparagus and filo rolls (often called “asparagus cigars”) are quite popular on the web, but since filo has been quite a recent addition to my cooking products, I noticed them only now. The idea seemed quite simple to copy (though born in the head of a genius!), so instead of following a precise recipe, I decided to make them my way. I added some chorizo and parmesan to spice up the rolls and to make them richer and it was enough to create a light though filling snack or part of a main course. The ingredients paired very well, enhancing the delicate asparagus taste, without hiding it. I have enjoyed them as a full light lunch, with a green salad, but I imagine these rolls very well as a starter or a snack, also fit for a party. In short, a lovely light spring dish.
Here are some other asparagus recipes you might like:
I didn’t feel the need to grease my folded sheets before rolling them around the asparagus spears. I brushed the rolls with oil on top only before baking, but if you feel like brushing filo pastry before rolling, feel free to do it.
I made these rolls twice and the second time decided to cut each asparagus spear into three bite-sized pieces in order to make the eating process easier. They look as whole at first sight, but you don’t risk taking out a whole spear while you bite into them or cut them. This is especially important if you treat these rolls as snacks and eat them with your hands.
If you don’t like/have parmesan, you can use any similar cheese of your choice (such as pecorino which by the way I intend to use here next time). You might even use softer melting thinly sliced cheese. There is one thing I’d advise though: since asparagus is far from being a cheap ingredient, I suggest using real, good quality, matured cheese (not a tasteless industrial copy).
Preparation: 15 minutes + 10 – 15 minutes baking
Ingredients (serves two as a light main course, if served with a salad, or three as a starter/snack):
6 filo/phyllo pastry sheets
18 green asparagus spears (about 1 cm diameter at the bottom) or more
12 paper thin thick chorizo slices
6 heaped tablespoons freshly grated parmesan (I think pecorino or other similar cheese would be fantastic here too)
oil to brush the rolls before baking
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Cut off the toughest parts of asparagus spears (I usually cut lower 1/4-1/3 depending on the spear).
Wash and dry them.
Take one filo pastry sheet, fold it in two lengthwise and place it on the chopping board, the shorter side close to you.
Take two slices of chorizo and place them horizontally on the filo pastry sheet (about 5cm/2 in from the border closer to you).
Take three asparagus spears, cut them into three bite-sized pieces each and place horizontally on the chorizo slices, putting them back into the original form. Make sure the asparagus tops go slightly beyond the pastry.
Grate about one heaped tablespoon of parmesan over the asparagus spears.
Fold the lateral edge of the pastry sheet until it meets the the longest asparagus low end.
Roll the filo pastry tightly but delicately, starting from the edge which is closest to you, remembering to keep one (left or right) side folded, so that asparagus spears don’t fall out when you eat them.
Proceed in the same way with the remaining rolls.
Brush the top of the rolls with some oil, place on baking paper and bake in the oven until golden (about 15 minutes in mine).
Watch them often as they tend to burn quite quickly.
Serve as a snack, a starter or a main course with a salad. (In case you wonder, I have sprinkled them with some shichimi togarashi, a Japanese spicy seasoning mixture).