Asparagus flan with Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) sauce
Everybody loves Spring, especially Italians. Asparagus is one of the most popular vegetables in Italy during this sensational season. You can either use them to do pasta sauce, a ‘frittata’, some of the most traditional dishes with the wild variety of Asparagus, or you can use your creativity and have fun developing new recipes. Here we developed a delicate flan, that perfectly pairs with the Parmesan sauce our chefs have developed. By grating fresh lemon zest on top, this dish expands its depth of flavor and complexity, giving it the pungent freshness of the Italian Spring. You will never disappoint your guests with this delicious appetizer! Enjoy!
450 gr (1 lb) fresh asparagus
450 gr (1 lb) potatoes
4 medium eggs
60 gr (2 oz) grated Parmigiano Reggiano DOP cheese (for the flan)
325 ml (1 ½ cup) fresh cream
140 gr (5 oz) grated Parmigiano Reggiano DOP (for the cream sauce)
Zest of 1 organic lemon
Ground black pepper
Mediterranean Sea Salt
6 ramekin aluminum molds
Bring water to a boil in a medium pot (enough water to blanch asparagus).
Preheat the oven to 190 °C/380 °F.
Rinse the asparagus under cold running water. Chop the bottom 1/3 off their stems. Add salt to the boiling water and add the asparagus. Blanch them for 8-10 minutes.
Remove the asparagus from the boiling water with the help of a skimmer and lay them on a cutting board. Save 5 asparagus tips, and split each of them in 4 thin parts. Add the rest of the asparagus to a bowl in which you have poured cold water and ice cubes. Let them cool down in there for 4 minutes.
Remove the asparagus from the ice cold water, chop them in coarse cubes and pour them in a bowl. Then add 4 eggs, 2/3 cup of grated Parmigiano and blend with an immersion blender, until you get a liquid and creamy consistency. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Now you can add the potato puree and mix the whole thing with a whisk. Get to a thick consistency. Set aside.
Brush each aluminum flan mold with EVOO and pour the mixture to fill each of them. Do this until exhaustion of the mixture (this recipe is for 6 flans).
Add your flans in a rectangular 16 x 10 inch baking pan with high edges. Pour cold water into this pan to cover half of the height of the flans. Bake at 190 °C/375 °F for 45 minutes.
Pour the fresh cream in a saucepan, and start to warm at very low temperature. Add 1 ½ cups of grated Parmigiano to the saucepan with the warmed and boiling cream, and incorporate it by mixing with a whisk. Do that on low heat. Once you have a smooth cream, turn the burner off.
When cooked, remove from the oven. Add a ladle of warm Parmigiano cream on a plate, then place one flan (remove from the aluminum mold– upside down) in the middle of it. Garnish with grated lemon zest to taste and add two or three asparagus tips on top of the flan.
This dish pairs perfectly with a glass of Vermentino DOP wine.