Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Asparagus Flan

I stopped at Le Benedict last week. Was okay. Service good. Food kind of salty. Wasn't very impressed. However, they had one dish, the Asparagus Flan, that was excellent if the puny, overcooked, little crab claws arranged around it were omitted. Not sure why they did that...
Anyway, I decided I needed to make it. So I figured it had to be made out of eggs and cream and asparagus. But how much of each? I hit the internet to start looking for proportions. Apparantly there are a lot of recipes out there for asparagus flan. I settled on Emerial Lagasse's, though I didn't follow it or measure anything, which is why maybe mine came out not "asparagus" enough, like the one at Le Benedict.

Anyway, here is Emeril's recipe. His original also has crab with. I suggest amping up the ratio of asparagus to eggs and cream. I didn't have crab. Maybe this is the recipe Le Benedict was inspired by? I do think mine looks prettier!

I garnished with celery leaves (that is all I had pretty much--I'd use fresh tarragon if it was available), heart of palm slices, and a creamy garlic aioli. A lemony hollidaise would taste good too with maybe some crumbled feta.

1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed and stalk bottoms peeled if necessary
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon leaves, plus 2 teaspoons
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped chives
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells

Trim asparagus and cut stalks diagonally into 1-inch lengths. Reserve tips separately.
In a large, heavy skillet, cook asparagus and onion in 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat until asparagus is tender, about 20 minutes. Puree asparagus mixture in a food processor until very smooth. If after pureeing the mixture you still have tough fibers, pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve before proceeding.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and lightly coat the inside of 6 (1/2-cup) ramekins with the remaining tablespoon of butter.

Transfer the pureed asparagus mixture to a mixing bowl and whisk in the eggs, heavy cream, cheese, 1 teaspoon tarragon, salt and pepper. Divide the asparagus mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins and place ramekins in a large baking pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the pan, and bake, uncovered, until flans are set, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack to cool slightly.
(The Part I skipped)

While flans are cooking, blanch the asparagus tips in a small saucepan of salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Rinse under cool running water to keep from overcooking and set aside to drain. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, chives, 2 teaspoons tarragon, lemon zest, Worcestershire Sauce, and salt and white pepper, to taste. Add the crabmeat and reserved asparagus tips and toss gently but thoroughly to combine. Reseason, if necessary.

When the flans have cooled slightly, run the tip of a paring knife around the edge of each flan and turn flans out onto serving plates. Garnish each flan with some of the crabmeat mixture and serve immediately. Flans are equally delicious served hot, warm, or at room temperature.

1 comment:

jess said...

OOOh, that is very pretty!