We were talking again about Brussels sprouts recently, their transformation from weak-kneed punishment vegetable to coveted gourmet side. How did it happen? The answer, I argued, is roasting.
Even if you like steamed asparagus (unlike steamed sprouts), you’ll love asparagus that’s been roasted like sprouts. Oil, high heat, and salt turn almost any vegetable into a French fry-like edible.
I go one step further with this recipe. I took asparagus, and I roasted stalks between buttery sheets of phyllo dough that turn crispy just like the asparagus they enrobe. There’s also cheese–melty brie–and fresh thyme.
The idea came from a desire to expand my repertoire of asparagus cookery, since I guarantee we’ll be eating bundles of it for the next few weeks. We’ll need variety. There’s always been puff pastry-wrapped asparagus, and I decided to try the same concept but with flaky, crispy phyllo.
Working with phyllo takes patience. The sheets that make this dish also have a tendency to stick together or tear. Be careful, and be patient. Once the asparagus packets have cooked, you’ll never be able to notice a little rip. But once you’re done wrapping up your asparagus, you’ll feel plenty confident with phyllo, perhaps confident enough to embark on the ultimate phyllo project–baklava.
These would be perfect as a first course at a Mother’s Day brunch or set out at any cocktail party you host this spring.
I wrote this sponsored post in partnership with Athens Foods. I only ever share sponsored content when I really love it. (You can read my affiliate disclosure here if you’re interested.) Athens is running a Get Social contest you can check out here. Thanks, Athens!
Asparagus in a Phyllo Blanket with Brie and Thyme
Makes 16 appetizers
You can double or triple the number of appetizers you make, but be sure to leave plenty of time to wrap. You’ll also want a pastry brush.
About 1 bunch asparagus (you’ll need 32 stalks)
12 sheets phyllo dough from half a package of Athens Food Fillo Dough
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
About 1/4 pound brie, cut into bite-sized pieces (fine to leave the rind on, unless you’re averse to it)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Wash and dry the aspargus. Trim them by snapping off the bottom – where each stalk snaps naturally when bent. Place in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a big pinch of salt.
Clear out a workspace. You’ll need room to put the phyllo on dry counterspace and to place a cutting board nearby. You’ll also want room for the bowls of brie, thyme, and asparagus. I tell you this because phyllo sheets can be finicky, and you’ll want to streamline your work and not be racing around the kitchen once you’ve started.
Unwrap the phyllo dough. Place the pile of sheets on the dry counterspace you cleared out. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top. Cover with a damp paper towel large enough to cover the sheets. This prevents the phyllo from sticking.
Take a sheet of phyllo and place it on your cutting board. Brush with butter. Layer on another sheet of phyllo. Brush that with butter. Layer on one more sheet. Cut the phyllo in half horizontally and vertically. Arrange two stalks of asparagus side by side on the outside edge of each of your four rectangles. Sprinkle with a few thyme leaves and dot 3 pieces of brie along the stalks. Roll the dough around the filling, moving inwards. Brush the end with butter to seal. Transfer to the baking sheet.
Repeat this four more times, until you have used up 12 sheets of phyllo and 32 asparagus. Brush all the asparagus packets with butter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake 8 to 12 minutes, until the phyllo is very golden and the asparagus has shrunken and browned. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then serve warm or room temperature.