Asparagus Yakitori and Green Onion Yakitori Recipes

Perhaps the single most popular small plate in the entire Japanese Yakitori menu.

Asparagus on the left, green onions on the right.  Doesn't get any better than this!

Think of Yakitori as a kind of Japanese small plate, featuring a huge variety of meat, seafood, and vegetarian selections grilled over a special Yakitori grill which has no grates. You can mimic this experience in your kitchen if you have an indoor grill, and it's a ton of fun for company, as you serve them one small plate after another, hot off the grill. That's why I consider Yakitori a true dining adventure. See here for more information on the overall Yakitori experience.

Asparagus is probably the most popular Yakitori dish of all, and is one of my favorites. The real McCoy is made with very thinly sliced pork belly, which is not always easy to find in the U.S. However, prosciutto makes a fine substitute, and is arguably even better due to its lower fat content.

I haven't seen green onions as a standalone dish on a Yakitori menu before, but we decided to try them because, well . . . we love green onions! After preparing them the same way as the asparagus, they were a big hit, with guests split 50/50 on which one is better! Now we typically just prepare asparagus and green onion together, which is why you'll see both of them in some of my photos.

If you want to do this down and dirty, just wrap asparagus (or green onion) in prosciutto and throw the whole thing on the grill, But for a more traditional Yakitori experience, follow my directions below.

If you don't have prosciutto, you can use bacon instead. Buy the thinnest cuts you can find, and you will need to cook it longer to get it to crisp up. I compared bacon vs. prosciutto in some of my photos below. Definitely go with prosciutto if you can get it. 

Green onions (on the left) will wilt if cooked too long. That's why we discard the green leafy part and only use the white and light green parts.

TOTAL TIME: 40 min

  • Prep:      30 min
  • Cook:     10 min

YIELD:   10 skewers

LEVEL:  Medium

 

Directions

Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

Cut or snap the white ends off the asparagus off. If cooking green onions, remove the green leafy part, leaving only the white and light green portion.

Wrap each piece of asparagus or onion in one slice of prosciutto, lengthwise. A thin wrap, e.g. once or twice around, is best.

Cut into 2 inch pieces and skewer 4 or so to a stick. Leave the blunt end of the stick open so you can hang it off the edge of the grill and use it to flip them.

Grill on medium-high or high heat until the vegetables are tender and the prosciutto is partially browned. Flip as needed.

Serve with lemon wedges and togarashi spice. Squirt lemon over top, dip in spice to eat.

Ingredients

  • 10 pieces of asparagus and/or green onions
  • 10 slices of proscuitto (Italian cured ham)
  • 10  bamboo skewers
  • Lemon
  • Togarashi spice

More Photos

This is the good stuff. Proscuitto Di Parma, from the Parma region of Italy. Our local Costco carries it.

If you use prosciutto, a single slice is thin enough and wide enough to wrap around the asparagus. 

If you use bacon, it's not wide enough to wrap around the asparagus well. Wrap it in a spiral pattern.

Here you can see prosciutto (top 3) and bacon (bottom 3) as wraps. The bacon is too thick to crisp up nicely. You can buy Pork belly and slice it thinner, or just take my advice and use prosciutto.

Once wrapped, slice it into 1 inch or 1.5 inch pieces for skewering.

Grill over medium-high or high heat. Leave the ends of the skewers hanging off the grill so you can use them to flip the asparagus.