One of the favorite Spring vegetables that certainly don’t have a long fresh season around my area, asparagus is know for its fiber and its diuretic quality since it is 93% water. Although it certainly is a star vegetable to grill, I’m taking it to the healthy side and preparing a wrapped asparagus without all the fat, sodium, and calories of bacon or prosciutto wrapped.
This is a super flavorful twist of carrot and puff pastry that is perfect for a dipping sauce. Fresh asparagus comes to life when we wood-fire it on the gas grill with wood chunks for added flavor. When done, you’ll never miss the bacon as this is a meaty, satisfying take on the wrapped asparagus theme. Now, get your bunch of fresh asparagus and learn this healthier version of wrapped asparagus wood-fired!
First, start this recipe by trimming the ends of one bunch of asparagus. Peel and end trim 3 medium size carrots. Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, produce thin peels of carrot, figuring about 2 peels per asparagus spear. Add water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Blanch the carrot peels in the water for about 30 seconds just to soften. This will make for an easier time of wrapping the carrots around the asparagus spear. Remove the carrot peels to a colander then place on paper towels to remove excess water.
With the vegetables prepared, it’s time to work on the puff pastry. After thawing two sheets of puff pastry according to package directions, place one sheet on a cutting surface and cut ½-inch strips of pastry. After that, take one egg and one teaspoon of water and beat together to produce egg wash. This will be used to hold the ends of the puff pastry to the asparagus spear.
Starting at the asparagus tip, begin wrapping one strip of puff pastry around the asparagus spear securing the ends in place with a bit of egg wash to the underside of the pastry. Each spear will take just one puff pastry strip. Be gentle with the pastry as the warm temperature of your hands will cause the pastry to begin stretching. If you should have any excess, simply trim the end off.
With the puff pastry strip in place on the asparagus spear, time to add the pre-blanched carrot peel. Each spear will take about two carrot peels, depending on the length. Starting on the tip end of the asparagus, begin wrapping the carrot peel in the space left by the pastry. Fold the carrot end under the pastry when you reach the ends. Once all the spears are wrapped in pastry and carrot, brush the entire spear with egg wash. Next, gently sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the surface of the stalk, then sprinkle with white sesame seeds. Lay on a foil lined sheet pan in preparation for the grill.
Tasting Notes: Other options for wrapping the asparagus spears include using a purple carrot either in place of or in addition to the traditional orange to give more visual appeal. Also, you can use zucchini or sweet potato peels too.
With all the asparagus spears wrapped in carrot and puff pastry and topped with parmesan, egg wash, and white sesame seed, these spears are now ready for the grill. I’ve preheated my gas grill to 400° F using only two of the four burners. On those hot burners, I’ve placed a metal smoker box that holds three double filet wood chunks. My sheet pans of prepared asparagus spears are placed on the unlit side of the grill. Close up the lid and leave to cook for about 20 minutes. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of smoke you’ll see from the grill’s vents. That’s just the wood doing is part to flavor the spears. After 20 minutes, check and rotate the trays to produce an even coloring to the puff pastry. It will be 20–30 minutes total cook time depending on the thickness of your asparagus, to make these tender and golden brown. Once done, remove from the grill and immediately remove the finished spears to a serving platter.
Optional Dipping Sauce
Although the smoked asparagus spears are great on their own, I’ll be giving this option of a dipping sauce. While the wrapped asparagus spears are on the grill, add ½ cup mayonnaise to a bowl. To the mayo add 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped chives, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. If you’d like a spicy kick to the sauce, add a ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes. Stir well and refrigerator until ready to serve with the wrapped asparagus.
Although wrapping our asparagus spears takes a bit of time, the work is worth it when you taste these flavorful twists. Perfectly cooked asparagus, sweetness of carrot peel, the airy quality of the puff pastry and the slight crunch of sesame seeds. Pair them with our simple dipping sauce made from mayonnaise, fresh chives, and lemon juice for the perfect appetizer or side dish. Ultimately, the only problem is it’s hard to stop eating these spears of flavor. Grilling asparagus using a two-zone cooking method makes them quick with no need to stand over the grill. Take advantage of asparagus season and give this easy recipe a try on your favorite grill.
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