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Filo wrapped asparagus

Updated: Thu, 18 April, 2024

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Asparagus wrapped in filo pastry is a glorious vegetarian snack or appetiser. Filo, the paper-thin, super-crunchy Middle Eastern pastry, buttered, layered and baked till golden is lovely on its own. And when it hides Parmesan-flavoured, fresh asparagus spears inside, it’s irresistible.

filo wrapped asparagus cuisinefiend.com

Wrap your food

I have written before about the extreme appeal of things wrapped: it was about dough/pastry/batter filled with filling or stuffed with stuffing. It was while I had a period of obsessive wrapping one food in another.

But it’s not just pastry that can enrobe tasty surprises. Salmon can be wrapped in bacon for instance, though pancetta works better if you want to follow my suit. Chicken salad packaged in lettuce leaves are a very healthy option of a chicken salad sandwich, incidentally.

Bacon (again! bacon is perversely good at the wrapping malarkey) encasing dates makes a free-wheeling version of devils on horsebacks.

asparagus filo parcels cuisinefiend.com

Combos taste better

Some things are better combined with others (and most things are better wrapped in bacon). Combination intensifies flavours or makes them melt together creating an unexpected new harmony. Textures, too: bacon (did I say bacon?) coated meat doesn’t dry out and acquires succulence from the fat.

It’s as simple as combining ingredients to create a dish. Imagine being served bread, butter, ham and pickles separately and urged to eat up one before you start on another.

I know, there are people who like to eat everything separately but most of us prefer piling elements of our dinners onto the fork and refusing to finish the potatoes if we’ve run out of meat.

filo asparagus cigars cuisinefiend.com

What is so good about filo?

Filo pastry is my favourite wrapping material and I refuse to acknowledge that it’s actually quite calorific with all the butter or olive oil brushed onto it. It’s still a distant runner-up to puff pastry in calorie rankings, which is also not too bad a wrapper but way, way, too rich.

Filo is paper thin and flexible, but will retain the shape whilst baking. You buy it ready-made and nobody in their right mind would scorn you for not making your own at home.

It will carry sweet as well as savoury fillings and it is actually gorgeous on its own: spiced or sugared, buttered or oiled, layered and baked. And it really needn’t be so fussed over: it dries out if uncovered, that’s true, but as long as you roughly wrap the rest up in the parchment it came in while you’re working on each sheet, it won’t be ruined.

It does cook quickly so it’s not suited for raw meaty filling that needs to spend a while in the oven. The Greeks have mastered the use of it, making little filo hand pies with spinach or cheese.

asparagus spears baked in filo pastry cuisinefiend.com

Do I need to parboil asparagus?

Absolutely not. Asparagus cooks very quickly: after all it was Caesar Octavian Augustus’ favourite quip to order something to be done ‘faster than asparagus cook’.

It also doesn’t leach water whilst cooking so it won’t make the pastry soggy. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you to precook it: they are simply telling you to ruin the vegetable.

fresh asparagus cuisinefiend.com

How to handle filo?

As mentioned above, if you leave it out for longer than a few minutes, it will dry out. But fears that it dries out by the time you unroll it are vastly exaggerated.

Once you’ve washed, dried and trimmed the asparagus and prepared a bowl with melted butter, work out how large a piece of filo you need to wrap each spear.

A standard sheet will probably wrap four if double layered. So it’s easiest to brush a sheet with butter and fold it into half, then season with salt, pepper and Parmesan, and cut into quarters the length of a spear.

Rolling, brushing with any leftover butter and arranging on a baking sheet lined with parchment – that’s all it takes.

how to wrap asparagus in filo cuisinefiend.com

It is also a good snack to make ahead: wrap the spears and cover them tightly on a tray, and they’ll easily last overnight. Brush lightly with butter just before they go in the oven.

asparagus filo parcels cuisinefiend.com

More asparagus recipes

Warm new potato salad with asparagus and bacon. Great recipe for a potato and asparagus salad with a little vinaigrette dressing. Instead of new potatoes, small waxy salad potatoes can be used.

Velvet fish and asparagus stir fry with garlic and ginger sauce. Velveting, or marinating the fish in egg white, wine and corn flour keeps it wonderfully juicy in this unusual Chinese dish.

Couscous with asparagus chunks, toasted pistachio nuts and fresh herbs, it’s a warm salad of perfectly matching ingredients.

More healthy snack recipes

Padron peppers, pimientos de padron, a Spanish dish of pan-blistered padron style green peppers. A delicious snack from the tapas menu, they can be eaten whole.

Crunchy seed crackers made with a mix of 7 seeds, gluten free and keto-friendly if you skip millet grain. Great as a snack, broken over a salad for a topping or served on a cheese board.


Corn ribs from the oven, with homemade dukkah, just like the ones served at Ottolenghi’s Rovi. It’s totally a snack du moment – and de toujours, I hope.

asparagus baked in filo cuisinefiend.com



Filo wrapped asparagus

Servings: 4Time: 45 minutes
Rating: (3 reviews)

INGREDIENTS

  • 20 asparagus spears
  • 60g (4 tbsp) butter, melted
  • 5 sheets of filo pastry
  • salt and black pepper
  • 30g (13 cup) grated Parmesan cheese


METHOD

1. Wash the asparagus and snap off the tough ends. Pat them dry with kitchen towels.

2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.

3. Work with one filo sheet at the time, keeping the rest wrapped so it doesn’t dry out. Spread one sheet on the work surface and brush with melted butter. Fold it in half along the long edge and brush the top surface again.

4. Sprinkle filo with salt, pepper and Parmesan and cut it in four, the length of each piece about the same as an asparagus spear.

5. Roll a spear into each rectangle like a cigar, scrunch up the ends and brush with butter. Continue with all the asparagus and filo.

6. Brush the rolls with any leftover butter and sprinkle with Parmesan if there’s any left. Bake for 15 minutes until the rolls are golden and the ends browned and crispy. Serve immediately.

Originally published: Mon, 10 June, 2019


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Your comments

Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Kim - I'm pleased you all liked it, and what a great twist on the recipe! Well done!
12 months ago
Kim
Made this for friends last night - they were delicious!!!!! ?? Hope you don't mind but I adapted it a bit by wrapping the asparagus in Parma ham which I spread with cream cheese and sprinkled with pepper before rolling in the filo. I could only get 3 parcels per sheet as the ham made the rolls thicker.
12 months ago
Susan Humphries
@Scoob
Great advise, have learned a lot! Thanks again!
2 years ago
Linda
Brilliant easy to follow
3 years ago
1 

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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