I had several friends come over for a potluck this week. We gathered to celebrate the return home of a good friend who studied abroad this semester. It was a very festive occasion with lots of laugher and paper plates piled high with food. My contribution to the event were these baked filo-wrapped asparagus spears served with two complimenting dips. I love asparagus, just about any way you prepare them. When I decided to prepare a vegetable side dish for our party, this dish was the immediate choice. It is easy to serve and prepare, easy to eat while mingling and talking, and it’s often something new for most people. A win-win-win! This recipe comes from the cookbook “Easy Vegetarian,” which also provides a dipping sauce to accompany this dish, however I concocted two of my own instead. Check them out! And here’s to summer nights on front porches, coming back home, and a great source of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Ingredient for the asparagus:
- 20 asparagus spears
- 1 package of filo dough, thawed if previously frozen
- Lemon wedges, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 375° F.
- Wash asparagus and remove the woody ends from each spear. Use a vegetable peeler to shave off any woody parts of the skin as well.
- Unroll one sheet of filo dough onto a clean surface and brush gently with water
- Place an asparagus spear at the top of the filo sheet so that the head of the asparagus is visible. Roll the asparagus until it is enclosed in a few layers of filo dough.*
- Repeat step four until all the asparagus are wrapped in filo dough.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the pastry is a golden brown.
- Serve with lemon wedges on the side or one/both of the dipping sauces below.
Ingredients for the Sour Cream Citrus Dip:
- Juice from ½ of a lemon
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 chopped green onions
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 5 thinly sliced basil leaves
- 1 small tub of sour cream (8 – 10 oz)
Combine the above ingredients in a medium sized bowl, mixing completely. Flavor it to taste. If lemon is not your favorite flavor, do less lemon juice and sub out lemon zest for orange zest. Also, feel free to play around with spices! Throw in a few dashes of garlic or paprika if you prefer, try diced cucumber! Every time I make this dip it’s different, this is simply a guideline. However, it has never failed to work well with this dish.
Ingredients for the Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip:
- 8 ounces of plan low-fat cream cheese
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries (dice if you prefer smaller chunks!)
- ½ can of cranberry sauce
Mix the above ingredients in medium sized bowl. Slowly add cranberry sauce and dried cranberries to the cream cheese until the mixture has turned a light purple/red and is well blended. Store in the refrigerator until serving.
Notes and Tips!:
- For a lighter version of this recipe, use less filo dough. Spread a filo dough sheet out on a clean surface. Using a pizza cutter you can cut the sheet in half vertically or horizontally. If you cut the sheet vertically and roll the spear from the top of the sheet to the bottom, towards you, you will have fewer layers of filo dough. If you cut the sheet horizontally, and roll the spear from left to right there will be more layers of filo dough. Either way is delicious!
- Choose your dip based on your taste preference! The cranberry cream cheese dip is a sweet dip while the sour cream citrus dip is much more tangy.
- Spoiler alert! I actually created the cranberry cream cheese for another recipe that will be posted soon. I had a good amount left over and decided to try it with these asparagus. I loved it so much that I had to share it with you! Thus, good news! There will be more uses for that dip coming your way soon.
- The dip shown in the photos is the Sour Cream Citrus Dip