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This asparagus and parma ham is a delicious, decadent and indulgent starter. Tender asparagus wrapped in salty ham and drizzled with creamy rich hollandaise sauce. Make this for a dinner party or your next date night. With only 4.5g of net carbs, this is also perfect for anyone following a low carb/keto diet!
Can I use an alternative to parma ham?
If you are struggling to find parma ham but you can find prosciutto, then they are technically one and the same thing. Prosciutto actually means ‘ham’ in Italian. Serrano ham (from Spain) is also a good substitution, and you can really use any kind of thinly sliced dry-cured ham (but not something like a honey roast ham).
In a pinch, you could also use streaky bacon (the standard bacon in the US) although it will need longer to cook since it needs cooking and is thicker. Undercook the asparagus if you do use bacon, as it will continue cooking for an extended period of time with the bacon.
How do I prepare asparagus?
To prepare asparagus the first thing you need to do is remove the woody ends. A quick and easy way to do this is to hold either end of the stalk and gently bend. It will snap in its natural breaking point. This is by far the easiest way and what I usually do.
You can also trim the ends with a knife. Find the place where the pale part of the stalk turns green and cut at that point.
Finally, you can also cut the bottom inch from the stems and then peel around the bottom of the stem where it is paler using a speed peeler. This will actually help retain more of the asparagus rather than wasting it.
Whatever method you use, you don’t need to throw away the ends of the asparagus. You can freeze them and collect a bunch over time, and then use them to make asparagus soup.
What can I serve it with?
The most common use for parma ham wrapped asparagus is as a starter. It’s delicious and fancy and light enough to eat as an appetiser.
You can also serve this as a delicious breakfast or brunch option. Add a poached egg on the top and you’ve got yourself a very fancy breakfast in bed treat or Sunday brunch.
Can I make it in advance?
You can make the separate parts of this recipe in advance, but there will be some assembly required when you come to serve it.
Firstly, you can cook the asparagus in advance and then refresh it in a bowl of ice-cold water to stop it from cooking further. Once cold wrap the asparagus in the parma ham and then store in the fridge for up to 1 day before heating the parcels in a pan when you are ready to serve (as directed below).
For the hollandaise sauce, you can make this a day in advance and reheat it. However, be very careful if you do. I recommend using a double boiler (a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water) and stirring constantly. You can use the microwave but it’s very easy to overdo it, which will result in the sauce splitting. If you do this then set the power to 50% and microwave in 15-second increments.
How can I stop my hollandaise from splitting?
Hollandaise sauce usually splits because you’ve added the butter too quickly or not whisked it enough as you’ve added it. If this does happen you can try adding a tablespoon of hot water (ideally just off the boil) and whisk everything vigorously until it’s combined.
Finally, don’t overheat the sauce. The eggs will cook and you’ll end up with a scramble. This cannot be fixed so be very aware! When you make the hollandaise make sure that you are constantly whisking and watching it. As soon as it’s thick enough remove it from the heat.
You need a few fairly straightforward ingredients for this recipe. For a full list with weights and measurements jump to the printable recipe card.
- Asparagus, ends trimmed or ‘clicked’ off
- Parma ham
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
For the hollandaise:
- Egg yolk
- Unsalted butter
- Lemon juice
How to make it
For more detailed instructions with recipe tips jump to the printable recipe card.
- First, make the hollandaise. Whisk together the lemon juice and egg yolk and then place over a double boiler. Add ‘just’ melted butter, a little at a time, whisking constantly until thickened and creamy.
- Heat some olive oil in a griddle pan or frying pan/skillet. Cook the asparagus for around 3 minutes until very al-dente.
- Lay the ham out and place 4 asparagus spears in the middle of each. Wrap into a parcel.
- Place the asparagus parcels back into the pan, turning regularly, for around 3 minutes until crisp and golden on each side.
Looking for more fancy yet easy starter recipes? Try:
- Goat’s cheese tart
- Smoked salmon and avocado
- Scallops and pea puree
- Caprese skewers
- Stilton and grape parcels
- Smoked salmon sushi stacks
Products that work well for this recipe:
Magnetic Spice Rack – Set of 12
Beeswax Food Wraps
Lodge Cast Iron Grill Pan
Tender asparagus wrapped in salty ham & drizzled with creamy hollandaise sauce. This asparagus and Parma ham is perfect for a dinner party or date night.
The default recipe serves 2.
- 8 thick spears asparagus, ends trimmed or ‘clicked’ off
- 2 slices parma ham (see note 1)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- pinch cayenne pepper, optional (see note 2)
For the Hollandaise:
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tbsp (45 g) butter
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- First, make the hollandaise. In a glass or metal bowl whisk together the egg yolk and lemon juice until pale and frothy. Melt the butter in the microwave until just liquid (not bubbling!). Bring a small saucepan of water to a medium simmer. Place the bowl with the egg yolk in it over the pan (make sure it’s not touching the water underneath). Whisk and then add the butter a little at a time. Whisk consistently until you get a creamy and thicker consistency. Remove from the heat and cover with foil to keep warm. (see note 3)
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan/skillet over high heat. If you have a griddle/ridged pan then use that. When smoking hot add the asparagus and cook for 3 minutes, turning often. (see note 4)
- Layout the parma ham pieces and then remove 4 pieces of asparagus and place them in the middle of each. Roll into a round parcel.
- Place the asparagus parcels back into the hot pan and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, turning often, until golden on all sides. (see note 5)
- Serve with the hollandaise drizzled on top and the cayenne scattered over.
- You can use any kind of dry-cured thinly sliced ham.
- You can also use nutmeg or paprika based on your taste preferences!
- When you are making the hollandaise, make sure you do it without distractions! Most issues arise from leaving it unattended, not whisking it properly or letting it overheat.
- You want to use high heat when cooking the asparagus so that it browns a little on the edges without requiring too much time. When you remove the asparagus from the pan it should be a little undercooked as it will continue to cook when you return it to the pan.
- You can alternatively wrap the asparagus with the ham and place it in the oven, at 200C/400F for 10 minutes.
- Category: Starter
- Method: Hob / Stove
- Cuisine: British
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 270
- Fat: 25g
- Carbohydrates: 6.5g
- Protein: 6.5g
Keywords: starter, asparagus, hollandaise, parma ham, appetizer, dinner party, fancy, indulgent