About this recipe:This is a simple but impressive starter of asparagus wrapped in ham, then served with a delicious twist on traditional pesto. The salsa can be made ahead - perfect for dinner parties!
6-8 asparagus spears per person, depending on size
Parma ham, 1 large, thin slice per person
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Parsley and Walnut Salsa
Large bunch flat-leaf parsley, snipped (about 140-160g)
2-3 large garlic cloves, smashed
100g walnuts, chopped
zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
30g Parmesan cheese, shaved into slivers
6 tablespoons walnut oil
4 tablespoons groundnut or sunflower oil
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Method Prep:15min › Cook:5min › Ready in:20min
First, make the salsa: Put the parsley, garlic, walnuts, lemon zest and juice into the bowl of a food processor. Whizz until coarsely chopped.
Add 15g of the Parmesan to the bowl. Blend again. With the motor still running, trickle in the oils. Stop blending while it's still a coarse-looking purée. Adjust the seasoning. Cover and chill.
Place the asparagus in boiling water and season with a little salt. Simmer for 3-5 minutes until al dente, and drain well.
Place the Parma ham on each plate. Place the asparagus on top with the tips sticking out. Drizzle or brush the spears generously with olive oil, season, and fold over the Parma ham to cover the asparagus. Spoon a dollop of salsa on top and scatter Parmesan shavings over each portion.
The salsa can be made ahead and can serve more than 8 people, maybe even 12. It keeps well overnight or even 2-3 days ahead. Walnut oil lasts only about 1 month once opened.