Crush and finely chop the garlic and put with the butter in a small pan over a low heat. Remove after 10 minutes and leave for a further 10 minutes off the heat to allow the flavour to infuse. Pass through a fine sieve into a bowl. (You are going to use this butter to brush the filo and if you leave the garlic in it will burn and go bitter on the outside of the pastry when exposed to the high heat at which it is cooked.)
Peel and trim the bases of the asparagus stalks. Grate the Parmesan.
Working one sheet at a time and keeping the sheets not in use under a damp tea towel, spread out each sheet of filo, brush with the flavoured butter and double over. Sprinkle with Parmesan and pepper but no salt (remember that the ham is salty).
Lay a slice of the ham on top, then place an asparagus spear across and roll up. Brush the roll with more butter, then cut it into 5 cm/2 in lengths and put on a non-stick baking tray. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Serve hot or at room temperature, with a lemon quarter on the side.
© 1995 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.