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Asparagus strudel

Total time: About 1 hour, 45 minutes

Servings: 8

Note: Adapted from "The Silver Palate Cookbook" by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.

3/4 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths

2 medium-size leeks, white parts only, rinsed well and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon chopped shallot

1 cup plus 4 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, divided

2/3 cup sliced almonds

1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, grated

3 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Dash of cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

12 leaves of packaged phyllo pastry, thawed if necessary

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Blanch the asparagus in a large pot of boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Place in a bowl.

2. In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, saute the leeks with the shallot in 4 tablespoons of the butter until transparent. Add to the bowl of asparagus.

3. Place the almonds on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 8 minutes, until golden.

4. Add the almonds, Gruyere, eggs, mint, parsley, dill, chives, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper and lemon juice to the bowl of asparagus. Toss together.

5. Butter a large baking sheet with melted butter. Lay 1 leaf of phyllo on a work surface (cover the remaining phyllo with a damp cloth), and quickly brush with melted butter. Repeat until you have six layers.

6. Place half of the asparagus mixture along one short end and roll up jelly-roll fashion, thoroughly tucking the ends in as you go. Place on the baking sheet. Proceed to make the second strudel with the remaining phyllo, butter and filling and place it on the baking sheet, leaving ample space between the rolls. Brush the tops of the rolls with any remaining butter.

7. Bake until golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool slightly and slice crosswise into 2-inch pieces.

Each serving: 549 calories; 16 grams protein; 22 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 45 grams fat; 25 grams saturated fat; 186 mg. cholesterol; 562 mg. sodium.

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