Asparagus Parmesan Bites

Asparagus Parmesan Bites

Working with puff pastry may sound complicated, but you’ll be surprised by how easy this recipe is. Don’t worry if your hors d’oeuvres look a little lumpy or lopsided when you roll them. In the oven, the pastry turns an appealing golden brown and puffs up, which hides any imperfections.

Ingredients Directions

28 asparagus spears (about 1 1/2 pounds)*
1 (17-ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed according to package directions
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons cold water to make an egg wash
3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
coarse salt
vegetable oil, for oiling the baking sheet

*To get the perfect asparagus-to-pastry ratio, use medium asparagus spears, not the pencil-thin ones or those sequoia-size monsters.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus spears and blanch them: Drop them into a pot of generously salted, boiling water and cook until you can pierce them with a fork but they’re still crisp, 3 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the spears. Immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water until no longer warm. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside.

Unfold the pastry sheets and cut each one in half lengthwise. Using a floured rolling pin on a floured surface, roll out one half-sheet into a 7 x 20-inch rectangle (keep the remaining sheets chilled, covered with plastic wrap). Don’t worry about being too precise—you can trim the edges with a knife to even them up. Cut the rectangle crosswise into six smaller rectangles (each about 7 x 3 inches).

Brush each rectangle with the egg wash and sprinkle evenly with 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, leaving a half-inch border on the long sides. Lay an asparagus spear along one long side, then roll up the pastry, pressing at the seam to seal.

Repeat with all the remaining puff pastry sheets. Brush any remaining egg wash on the tops and sides of the rolls. Sprinkle the outsides of the rolls with coarse salt, then arrange them seam side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to firm up the pastry. 

Bake until puffed and golden brown, 13 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut each roll crosswise into three bite-size sections. Serve warm.

Makes 80 asparagus bites.

Make-Ahead Factor

The rolls can be baked 4 or 5 hours ahead and kept uncovered at room temperature. Warm them in a 300°F oven for 5 to 7 minutes, then cut them.

From Cocktail Parties, Straight Up! Easy Hors D'oeuvres, Delicious Drinks and Inspired Ideas for Entertaining with Style by Lauren and Anne Purcell.