Asparagus in Ambush with Ozark Country Ham and Crowley Cheese with Parsley Sauce ►
Celebrated chef Larry Forgione’s direct presentation of asparagus and ham is wonderful as an appetizer or for lunch. The quality of the dish depends on the quality of the asparagus, ham, and cheese, so look for the best. Leave off the ham if you prefer a meatless dish.
- Flour Tortillas - 4 (8-10 inches)
- Ozark Country Ham - 4 large, thin slices baked
- Crowley Vermont Cheese - 4 large thin slices
- Asparagus Stalks - 20 large, peeled and trimmed to 8 inches
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon, melted
- Beurre Blanc - 12 tablespoons (recipe follows)
- Flat-leaf Parsley - 4 tablespoons, chopped
- Tomatoes - 2 medium, peeled, seeded, and diced
- Beurre Blanc
- Shallots - 3, minced
- White Pepper - 1 teaspoon, freshly cracked
- Dry White Wine - 1 cup
- Parsley - 1/4 cup, chopped
- Heavy (Whipping) Cream - 1/2 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 1 cup (2 sticks), cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
- Salt to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat and plunge the asparagus into the water. Cook 3 – 4 minutes, until al dente. Remove from heat, drain, and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain.
Spread the tortillas on a clean work surface. Lay a slice of ham in the center of each and top with a slice of cheese. Arrange 5 asparagus stalks in a bundle on each tortilla with the tips extending over the edge. Roll the tortillas tightly so that the asparagus tips protrude and seal the edges with a little water.
Brush a baking sheet with half of the melted butter. Put the rolled tortillas, seal-side down, on the baking sheet and brush with the remaining butter. Bake 3 – 4 minutes, until heated through. Remove the rolls from the oven and put them on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, trim the bottom of each roll to make it even. Carefully cut each roll three inches down from the asparagus tips and trim so that the 3-inch pieces can stand upright with the tips upwards. Cut the remaining part of each roll in half diagonally. Stand a roll with asparagus tips in the center of each plate. Stand two rolls on either side, diagonal end up.
Stir the parsley into the beurre blanc and spoon around the rolls. Sprinkle diced tomato over the sauce and serve.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, put the shallots, pepper, and wine, and bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced in half by volume. Add the cream and reduce by half again. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, one piece at a time, incorporating completely between each addition. Season with salt and lemon juice. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Keep warm over tepid water.