Strudel doesn’t need apples to make a splash. This take on strudel, for instance, is a burst of springtime flavor. The filling is savory rather than sweet, with vegetables and cheese enveloped by delicate, flaky pastry, which makes the perfect addition to breakfast, brunch or any buffet table. Not only is it delicious, but it’s packed with nutrients thanks to the asparagus, which is a good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, and chromium, a trace mineral that helps insulin transport glucose from the bloodstream into the cells.
Asparagus is one of those green vegetables that gives your free radicals a run for their money, which means eating it as often as you can means you’ll feel better, look better, function better and live longer. With dishes this delicious, there’s no reason not to give your mental health a boost, fight the aging process (but gently, of course, using spears of asparagus), and protect yourself against certain forms of cancer.
For good health and happiness this springtime, eat your greens!
- 3 tablespoons plus ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, divided
- 2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut diagonally into ½-inch pieces
- 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
- 3 extra-large eggs, divided
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 9 fresh or frozen phyllo sheets, thawed if frozen (each about 17 x 12 inches)
Melt 3 tablespoons of the cold butter in a heavy large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until tender and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the asparagus and sauté until they are bright green and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside until the asparagus mixture is room temperature. Stir in the cheese, 2 of the eggs and the dill, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Position the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the remaining ½ cup of butter. Brush a heavy large baking sheet lightly with some of the melted butter. Lay 1 phyllo sheet on the work surface and brush lightly melted butter. Repeat this layering using 7 more phyllo sheets and melted butter.
Spoon the asparagus mixture atop the center of the phyllo stack, forming a 12 x 3-inch log and leaving a 2-inch border of phyllo on each short side. Fold the short edges in. Fold 1 inch of the long side furthest from you toward the filling.
Beginning at the long side closest to you, roll up the strudel tightly to enclose the filling completely as for a burrito, making sure the ends are tucked in and ending with the 1-inch seam on the bottom. Position the strudel, seam side down, in the center of the prepared baking sheet. Brush some of the remaining melted butter over the sides and ends of the strudel.
Brush the remaining 1 phyllo sheet with the remaining melted butter. Cut the phyllo sheet into 4 squares. Gather each phyllo square together to form 4 loose, free-form rosettes. Beat the remaining 1 egg in a small bowl to blend. Lightly brush the top of the phyllo with the beaten egg (this will act as a glue to help keep the rosettes in place). Set the rosettes atop the strudel.
Makes 1 strudel; Serves 8
Do ahead: The strudel can be assembled 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bake the strudel uncovered until golden brown, about 55 minutes (a small amount of filling may leak out). Let cool for 20 minutes. Cut the strudel crosswise into slices and serve.