Whether you’re looking for a new side dish or an interesting appetizer, Wrapped Asparagus Spears with Garlic Butter and Parmesan is the answer. Perfectly baked, perfectly seasoned, and perfectly perfect! Serve hot or at room temperature!
It’s really no secret that the Thomas-Ewing household loves asparagus. That’s why we get our fix this time of year – every year! Asparagus is always plentiful and inexpensive in June, so we like to get our asparagus cravings all out of the way and fill our bellies with our favourite veggie.
Just yesterday, when I made this recipe, there were three bunches of asparagus in our refrigerator. I might have mentioned in a previous post that Costco now has a delivery service, which is so great! You don’t need a membership, which is a plus, but more importantly, I can order online and have the items delivered right to our door without having to deal with crowds or the dreaded task of finding a parking spot.
I had ordered a bunch of asparagus from Costco a few weeks ago as a test. I’m usually very worrisome about ordering produce online, because you never know what you’re going to get. But, the delivery service hand selected the best asparagus, so I ordered again a week or so later. These Wrapped Asparagus Spears with Garlic Butter and Parmesan used the asparagus that we got from the Costco delivery for two reasons. First, they were the first bunch purchased of the three bunches that were in our fridge, and secondly, because the spears were bigger in diameter.
I think that a larger/thicker spear holds up better in the oven for the particular recipe. Using thin asparagus runs of the risk of a very limp or overcooked end result. So, use the thickest spears you can find. To cook everything evenly, it’s important to remember that the dough you are wrapping around the asparagus is rolled very thin. Roll the dough using your hands so that a long string is formed. It should be about 18″ long and be a little thinner than a wooden pencil. Aim for that and you’ll be fine.
Before we move any further, it’s important to note that I used a homemade dough for this recipe. I have not tried this recipe with a store-bought dough or any Pillsbury products, so I cannot comment on whether or not they will work. In all honesty though, the dough recipe I’m using is so easy and quick, there’s really no reason to buy store bought dough anyway!
Like most of the recipes you’ll find here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen, Wrapped Asparagus Spears with Garlic Butter and Parmesan uses very few ingredients. And, as always, I’m going to encourage you to use the best you can find and/or afford. Use the freshest asparagus you can get your hands on. Do not use frozen or jarred asparagus; it will not work. Make sure your yeast is still fresh and has not yet expired. I’m so guilty of buying a jar of yeast and letting it sit in the pantry for way too long. Look at the expiry date and make sure it’s still good to use.
That garlic butter that you’re going to baste the finished product with needs to be the best. Please use fresh garlic cloves for ultimate garlic flavour and pungency. And, for all that is holy and sacred, never under any circumstance should you ever consider using anything that is not real butter. There is no substitute for real butter – I don’t care if you can’t believe that it’s not real butter or not! Don’t use it in this recipe.
Lastly, I’m not going to pretend that I never buy parmesan cheese in a can. I’m really not that pretentious! And, I know purchasing a wedge of good parmesan can be a little expensive, so I won’t tell you to do that either. But, use the best parmesan you can afford, and if that happens to be from a can, then so be it! The parmesan is just a finishing touch anyway, so it won’t make a world of difference.
When it comes to asparagus as a side dish or as an appetizer, I’m positive that you’ll be really happy and satisfied with Wrapped Asparagus Spears with Garlic Butter and Parmesan. This recipe has it all – easy to make, great taste, great texture, and I happen to think that it looks very impressive and pretty. (Don’t forget the pretty!)
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Wrapped Asparagus Spears with Garlic Butter and Parmesan
For the Dough:
- 3/4 cup warm tap water, see notes
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar, see notes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
For the Remainder of the Recipe:
- 32 spears asparagus, see notes
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1 tablespoon dried or fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1/2 teaspoon finely crushed peppercorns, optional
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water
For the Dough:
Fill a metal mixing bowl with hot tap water and set aside for a few minutes. This will temper the bowl and help to ensure the yeast will properly activate. While you're waiting for the bowl to warm, preheat the oven to 500 degrees - not broil, but degrees.
Pour the hot water out of the bowl and wipe the bowl dry. Add the warm tap water and the yeast. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the yeast into the water for no more than 5-10 seconds. Set aside and let the yeast bubble and foam for at least 3 minutes.
Sift together 2 cups of the flour, salt, sugar, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir in the dried thyme.
Add the olive oil to the yeast and water mixture. Stir for a few seconds. Pour in the entire flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until the liquid is absorbed.
Sprinkle your clean counter top with a little flour and empty the dough out. Knead the dough together for 4-5 minutes until a dough ball is formed. Place the dough back into the metal mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel, and set the bowl onto the top of your preheating oven. (Don't place the bowl on a burner, just on the surface of the oven. The heat will help the dough to proof.) Let the dough sit for five minutes.
In the meantime, add the butter, garlic, and parmesan to a small sauce pan. Over medium heat, allow the butter to melt and the garlic to cook for a minute or two. Swirl the sauce pan to ensure the garlic and parsley and well mixed into the butter. Turn off the heat, but leave the butter on the burner.
When the dough is ready, take a small amount of the dough into your hands, about 1/4 cup or so, and roll the dough to form a long, continuous string about 18" long and no thicker than a wooden pencil. Roll the dough gently around one asparagus spear, sticking the starting end of the dough, and the finishing end of the dough onto itself. Lay the wrapped asparagus onto a greased baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between each spear.
Whisk together the egg yolk with one tablespoon of water. Using a basting brush, baste the egg yolk mixture over the top of each spear, being sure to cover the dough. This will help to brown the dough.
Bake for 10 minutes at 500 degrees.
Once you remove the asparagus from the oven, brush liberally with the garlic butter mixture and top with parmesan cheese and crushed peppercorns.
Serve immediately or at room temperature. Serve the left over garlic butter as a dip or for those guests who would like an extra drizzle or two!
The warm tap water should be 110 degrees for optimum yeast activation.
You might be tempted to leave the sugar out of a savoury dough, but the sugar is and important factor to activating the yeast.
Trim the hard, tough bottoms from the asparagus spears. Rinse the asparagus in cold water and lay in a single layer on paper towels. Set a double layer of paper towels on top of the asparagus and gently roll the asparagus between the two layers of paper towels to get them nice and dry.
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