When we think of Strudel, for most of us the sweet German (and northerneastern Italian) dessert made with apples will come to mind. But did you know that a Strudel can be savory, too? Well, it can, at least in Italian cookery. And if anything I rather like the savory kind better than the sweet.
Here’s a classic example of the savory Strudel: Strudel salato con asparagi e prosciutto, filled with asparagus, prosciutto and cheese. It’s stupidly simple to make, especially if you cheat a little and use store-bough puff pastry. No need to let anyone know, the result will look and taste like you’ve been slaving for hours…
- One sheet of puff pastry, defrosted
- 250 g (9 oz) asparagus, trimmed and steamed until tender
- 4-5 thin slices of prosciutto
- 50-75g (2-3 oz) scamorza, fontina, taleggio or other meltable cheese, sliced
- One egg, beaten
- Butter for greasing your baking dish
Trim the asparagus stalks of their woody bottoms and, if they have thick skins, peel them below their tender tips. Boil, or better steam, the asparagus until tender but still a bright green color. Refresh the asparagus under cold running water to stop it cooking.
Lay the puff pastry out flat on a large piece of parchment paper.
Lay down the prosciutto slices on top of the pastry, leaving a border of at least 3cm/1 in on all sides. Lay the sliced cheese on top of the prosciutto. Finally, lay down the asparagus spears on top of the cheese in parallel rows. (NB: As pictured, the spears should be a bit shorter than the length of the puff pastry; if not, trim more off the bottom.)
Now, tuck in the tops and bottoms of the pastry and, using the parchment paper to help you, roll up the puff pastry carefully horizontally, ending up with the seam side down. You should wind up with a roll that looks something like this:
Place the strudel, still cradled in the parchment paper, in a baking dish, cut parallel incisions across the top, then brush it all over with the beaten egg:
Place in a hot 200C/400F oven for about 30 minutes, or until nicely puffed and golden brown on top.
Let the strudel salato completely before serving.
Notes on Strudel salato
While puff pastry is a great convenience, if you want to go the extra mile and use real strudel dough, then consult our post on Apple Strudel but leaving out the sugar.
There are various ways to mix things up. For example, Speck or cooked ham can replace the prosciutto. The cheese (as mentioned in the ingredients list) can be more or less any mildly flavored meltable cheese. Fontina would be the classic choice, although today I used some taleggio I happened to have in my fridge, which gave my Strudel salato a slightly funky but appealing flavor. And I’ve seen recipes that call for chopping up the asparagus rather than laying them down whole (which seems like a pointless extra step to me, frankly). If you like, many recipes call for a sprinkling of poppy seeds on top for decoration. Again, not my thing…
And speaking of decoration, if you want an even more elegant look, you can use a lattice top as in our Salmon en Croûte recipe. You could argue it won’t be a Strudel any longer, since you won’t be rolling your dough in classic Strudel fashion, but it will look and taste smashing. It might even be a bit nicer that way, since the puff pastry will stay on the outside of the Strudel, letting it brown and puff nicely all around.
This savory Strudel is at its best, in my opinion, when cooled off but still slightly warm. It’s also quite nice at room temperature so it lends itself to making ahead, even by a day or two.
Strudel salato di asparagi e prosciutto
- 1 sheet One sheet of puff pastry defrosted
- 250g 9 oz asparagus trimmed and steamed until tender
- 4-5 4-5 thin slices of prosciutto
- 50-75g 2-3 oz scamorza, fontina, taleggio or other meltable cheese sliced
- One egg beaten
- Butter for greasing your baking dish
- Trim the asparagus stalks of their woody bottoms and, if they have thick skins, peel them below their tender tips. Boil, or better steam, the asparagus until tender but still a bright green color. Refresh the asparagus under cold running water to stop it cooking.
- Lay the puff pastry out flat on a large piece of parchment paper.
- Lay down the prosciutto slices on top of the pastry, leaving a border of at least 3cm/1 in on all sides. Lay the sliced cheese on top of the prosciutto. Finally, lay down the asparagus spears on top of the cheese in parallel rows.
- Now, tuck in the tops and bottoms of the pastry and, using the parchment paper to help you, roll up the puff pastry carefully horizontally, ending up with the seam side down.
- Place the strudel, still cradled in the parchment paper, in a baking dish, cut parallel incisions across the top, then brush it all over with the beaten egg:
- Place in a hot 200C/400F oven for about 30 minutes, or until nicely puffed and golden brown on top.
- Let the strudel salato cool completely before serving.
- Let the strudel salato completely before serving.
Frank! Thank you so much for this recipe. I made it the other day and ate the whole thing in two days because I woke up in the middle of the night wanting more so decided to just finish it! Ron was right when he said it is a gift from God, that is exactly what I thought when I bit into the delicate pastry and underneath was the sweet prosciutto with melted fontina and steamed fresh asparagus. Truly, Italian food is a great gift from God. I texted my photo to my siblings and they immediately wanted the recipe. You were right, simply stupid easy to make. A new addition to my rotation. I also made the fabulous snap peas only I used sopresseta, everyone loved them. Loving these summer vegetables! My leftover asparagus and fontina is going into an omelette with salmon.
Thank you so much. God bless you, Jane, friends and family.
I’m truly grateful for all your kinds words, Jane. And delighted to hear you’re enjoying these recipes, along with friends and family. Thanks so much for spreading the word!
That looks like a wonderful dish to prepare for an easy summertime lunch – puff pastry filled with asparagus, prosciutto and cheese sounds delicious and the finished savory strudel looks very pretty – your presentation is picture perfect. Your strudel salato certainly looks like my kind of food.
Thanks so much, you’re too kind… 🙂
Ooh, I missed this one! I think dishes like these are SO underutilized on menus and weeknight meals! Such an easy to make, yet delicious dish that looks stunning! What more could one want?!
What more, indeed! And you’re right, this kind of dish is usually thought of as party food, but it’s so quick and easy it’s very suitable for weeknight dinners.
Eva and Frank, Austrians also make that dish. I’m sure asparagus would be popular too as it is such a craze in those regions.
What surprises me is if this is a dish from Campania; I do associate such dishes with Fruili Venezia-Giulia or Südtyrol – Alto-Adige
We love the idea of a savory strudel! The combination of the filling with the asparagus and the prosciutto is amazing! This is a great recipe dear Frank!
What a great recipe, Frank! I love that only a few ingredients can make such a delicious strudel. I’ll be looking out for asparagus as soon as they come into the stores. Thanks for the recipe!
And thanks for stopping by, Marcellina!
Sounds delicious. I will have to keep this in mind for my next picnic 🧺 ciao, Cristina
Hope you like it, Cristina. 🙂
This is just gorgeous! I’m going to make this for when my girlfriend stops by.
Hope you gals enjoy it!
Oh man, thinking about the warm taleggio melted into the asparagus and prosciutto here is making my mouth water! What a cool idea to make a savory strudel. I’ve made the apple version before, but this is new to me – and it definitely earns a place on my list of things to make! Well done, sir. 🙂
Thanks so much, David! I do think you’d like it!
This looks like this would be a good appetizer and the combination of flavors looks great!I wasn’t sure about one thing in the instructions, though. It took me several moments of ‘mental jigging” to figure out that you’re supposed to remove the parchment paper after transferring the strudel to the baking dish. (Maybe I’m just slow)! Thanks for the great recipe.
Or maybe I should make that clear in the instructions. If it caused you a moment of confusion, no doubt other readers could also be confused! Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, Fran!
The Hungarians make a cabbage strudel which I never loved as a kid but adore it now!
What a lovely luncheons dish this is, perfect for the warmish weather we are having.
Thanks so much for your comment, Eva. The cabbage strudel sounds lovely, too.
Frank, you just hit my sweet spot. I love asparagus, prosciutto is god’s gift from the pig and taleggio is a wonderful cheese. Wrap that all up in puff pastry and bake, I’m so there…
Thanks, Ron! It certainly is a winning combination of flavors. Enjoy!
Savory strudels (mushroom, to be exact) were a part of my upbringing – never sweet! How on earth did you know that I actually have all the ingredients on hand? It’s kind of a miracle, really. I need some of the puff pastry for another recipe, but I think I can pull off a half strudel which, in the end, is probably a better idea. I fear I would eat the whole thing!
Great minds think alike, I guess, David! 😉 This is pretty addicting, actually. I think I gained a few pounds… but it was worth it, lol!
This looks so wonderful, and I do agree that it looks like you do it fairly quickly. I’ll bet it’d make fantastic party food! Now if we could just get back to the days when we could have parties!
One day, Jeff… one day…
That’s my recipe! I love savory strudels with vegetables. It is the asparagus season, so we have to take advantage of it! Happy Sunday!
Awesome! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Imagination is so important in life, isn’t it Have never been a baker, could never learn how to make a kitchen-table sized thin and perfect sheet of strudel pastry and had never thought of ‘savoury’ strudel ! Am finicky about food nomenclature – but this is strudel . . . and as I love the simple spring ingredients and can manage the store-bought pastry this recipe will go right to the top of the kitchen file !! . . . thanks indeed !
Indeed, where would we be without our imaginations? Anyway, hope you enjoy it, Eha!
Definatley going to cook the strudel,
Your recipes a fabulous and also the extra tips help.
Regards Ann Stone
Thanks so much, Ann!
Another wonderful recipe Frank, thanks. I love your choice of cheeses.
Why hasn’t anyone ever told me about savory strudel?!! Terrific idea. I’ve had little packets of goodness in little bundles of puff pastry before, but haven’t seen this really wonderful presentation. I will, though, soon, on my kitchen counter. 🙂 This is excellent — thanks.
And thank you for stopping by, John!