Let me apologize first! I know this is my second asparagus post in a row. The truthful, not very glamorous reason is that I’m about to leave for Italy and I needed to empty my refrigerator. ;-) The first rule I learned when I started cooking is that food waste is a big no no and I try to abide by it.
However, you know me. Whatever the reason may be, I always try to go for something nice that satisfies my aesthetic sense in addition to my palate, especially when I’m handling ingredients as expensive as asparagus. Since I had just bought a mini-bundt pan at Williams Sonoma, I thought it would be fun to use it to make asparagus-based flans. I’m very pleased with the results. What do you think? ;-)
These flans are the perfect appetizers for a dinner party. They can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature or warmed-up. But above all, they are very cute and will impress your guests for sure! ;-)
I like to serve them with warm cheese sauce on top. I think the savory cheesiness of the sauce complements the very delicate texture of the vegetables wonderfully.
I wish you all a great beginning of summer. I’ll try to stay in touch as much as I can but I apologize in advance if I might miss some of your posts. Spending time with my extended family is wonderful, but it is also a full time job! ;-)
1 lb, asparagus
2 Cups, peas
10 leaves, basil
2 Tbsp, extravirgin olive oil
1 1/2 Cup, stock
4 Tbsp, ricotta
4 Tbsp, grated Parmigiano cheese
Ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 340 degrees F.
Wash the asparagus spears and cut off the woody ends. In a large pot, heat some water until it boils, add the asparagus and keep boiling for 3-4 minutes. Strain the asparagus, rinse with cold water and cut into ¾ inch pieces.
Wash the peas under cold running water. In another pot, heat some water until it boils, add the peas and keep cooking until they are tender. Strain the peas and rinse them with cold water.
Cut off the green top of the leek and the root. Discard the outer layer. Cut the leek in half lengthwise. Rinse the two halves well under water, being careful to leave them intact. Place each half, with the flat side facing down, on a chopping board. Slice the leeks thinly and evenly with your knife so that you end up with thin strips.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the leek, the peas and the asparagus, season with salt and pepper (to taste) and toss to coat. Add the stock and stir occasionally until the water evaporates. Set aside.
Chop the basil leaves roughly.
In a blender or food processor place the vegetables, the ricotta, the Parmigiano cheese, the basil and the yolks. Blend until you obtain a smooth mixture. Taste it to check whether you need to add more salt and blend again.
In a bowl, beat the egg whites until they get fluffy. With the help of a spatula, incorporate the beaten egg whites into the vegetable mixture.
Coat the mini-bundt pan molds with butter. If you do not have any such pan, you can use your regular muffin pan.
Fill the molds with the mixture. Place the mini-bundt pan inside a large, shallow pan. Add warm water to the large pan such that the lower half of the height of the mini-bundt pan is under water.
Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the mini-bundt pan from the water bath. Let the mini bundts cool.
Invert onto a serving plate and add some warm cheese sauce on top. Serve right away.
That’s all for today: talk to you soon from the old continent!