Thursday, September 16, 2010


Internet picture

In reply to requests for the recipe for Asparagus Rollups in yesterday's post---I somehow thought I'd posted it already somewhere here. They're no big deal to make---very simple ingredients, an old Bubba kind of cheese sauce that you spread on rolled-flat bread slices, then roll up around a canned spear---long or regular, take your pick.

The recipe is from one of those little spiral cookbooks of the Sixties or Seventies---some club or school or other---those books compiled by local cooks as a fundraiser, and somehow featuring canned mushrooms, Cream-a-soups, fiddly-squat methods for oysters, and meatballs in grape jelly.

This recipe sounded good for a party, but included a lot of cheese grating and sprinkling, and a lot of Worcestershire sprinkling onto each slice, and you know how I am about not having the ingredients mixed well, and getting a little PING of surprise. I can carve radish roses to your heart's content, but fiddling about with three drops of L&P on each slice runs my patience thin. I think the whole thing was meant to be a portable Rarebit, without the drippage.

So---I dumbed it down, countrified it within an inch of its Durkee’s, and everybody seemed to want to order these for parties and lunches and weddings. One lady even got these large julep-cups and stood more than a dozen in each one, for each table. They’re totally NOT gourmet, but they’re GOOOD!
This is how we often served them at weddings and other elegant finger-food affairs---the small crisp bites seem more in keeping than the great long cigars of the home-style version.

Asparagus Rollups Two dozen or so
1 can asparagus spears, regular or tall---tall is prettier, but watch space in pan
Loaf of sliced bread---the plainer, the better, like Wonder Bread
A 15 oz jar Cheez Whiz
Big clop of Durkee’s
Bigger clop of Blue Plate
Coupla shakes of L&P
Sprinkle of powdered garlic or one toe, minced and salt-smushed til creamy
Several grinds of the peppermill

Be careful to open the can at the end with the bottoms of the spears. Gently pour out and discard juice

Put a double-thickness of paper towels on a plate or tray, hold the can very close, and shake the spears gently out onto the paper, moving the can along a bit to keep the spears separated.

Sorta count them, and compare with number of bread slices. If spears are thinner than a pencil, use two in a roll.

Generously butter baking dish---not spray; you need the butter to crisp them all over. Those two-to-a-pack flimsy disposables are perfect for one loaf, just hold pan carefully in and out of oven.

Scrape all of Cheez Whiz into a medium bowl and vigorously stir in all the condiments. Set aside while you roll the bread. Leave crusts on---they make a lovely, buttery crisp edge. The easiest way is to put a slice on a plastic cutting board and roll bread from corner to corner, flattening as you go---give it a quarter turn, roll again. Stack these as you go, and cover with damp paper towels if you’re going to be rolling more than one loaf.

What I WAS TOLD IN ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE by a lady who made several recipes of these for a party was: put the cutting board on the (very clean) floor with the bread all laid on, put a matching board on top of that, and WALK ON IT. I pray she did not get the boards mixed up between rounds.
Then, I like to use the same cutting board, which will hold six slices side-by-side. Spread the bread with a nice layer of the cheese mixture and lay it down; repeat with other five slices.
Lay a spear right at the edge on one side and roll up tightly. Place seam-side down, touching, in buttered baking pan.

Repeat layout, spread, rollup, til all bread is used. Wrap in double Saran and refrigerate til ready to cook---you can stick them in the oven after guests have arrived, to serve warm, or earlier, for room temp.

Preheat oven to 350; Melt two sticks of butter in small pan or in microwave. Brush generously all over tops and drizzle down sides of pan. Bake 12—15 minutes til top is getting golden and feels toasty and getting crisp. Serve in a napkin-lined basket with a napkin atop.

These are the perfect accompaniment to a salad lunch, especially CHICKEN SALAD.

This picture is one I borrowed from the Internet---from someone called CLUMSY COOK, who certainly IS NOT! They’re gorgeous, and I’d make these in a heartbeat, but I don't have a hand for working with phyllo, and elegance loses some of its charm when all the guests are brushing crumbs from lapel and cleavage onto table and rug. But aren’t these PRETTY?? I think I need to be invited to a party like that.

And these last ones---crusts trimmed, prettified and set out on a bright platter---what a welcoming sight on a dinner table or buffet. I think I'd like being invited to THAT occasion best.

And if my two oldest sons were here, and I made the spread for these---they'd both spread it on two slices of bread, lay the spears down like logs on one slice, top it with the other, and put the whole thing under the broiler.


Chesapeake said...

Okay, now I GOTTA find me some Durkees. Looked at one store to no avail. Was just told yesterday that 4-yr-old GD will eat asparagus, so really wanna try this on her, not to mention on us.

racheld said...

Just have a peek back at your Paminna Cheese post last week---that bright little turquoise lid and label are what I scan for---usually at the top of the "kinda like mayonnaise" shelves.

I hope you find it---makes SO many good things better---you can smell and taste the hit of Colman's mustard---like the little yellow can of powder we all used to keep in the cabinet, and recipes measured out in 1/8 tsp. measures.

Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

sounds yummy, my bunch loves "spears" as we loving call them, my BB couldn't say Asparagus, until he was grown and mispronounces it.
Didn't you tell me your DD lives in Summit? I did a post on it yesterday.