Just as the asparagus season comes to an end, here I come with a recipe with a novel and interesting way to prepare them…
The classic way to prepare white asparagus over here is “à la Flamande”: with boiled new potatoes, chopped boiled egg, a clarified butter or hollandaise sauce and a couple of slices of cooked ham. Absolutely delicious!
This version is completely different yet equally delicious: you undercook the asparagus and finish them off in a hot griddle pan. Covering them with a good mature camembert or brie and take a blowtorch to them gives the dish a great smokiness. The gooey cheese gives a very indulgent flavour and texture but does not overpower the taste of the asparagus. We have tried this version a couple of times this year and are definitely not tired of it. Would work well with green asparagus too.
- Cut of the woody ends of the asparagus, peel them (I ended up with about 800g / 28oz net weight) and boil them in salted water until “al dente”; they really still should have some texture at this point. Drain them and pat them dry with kitchen towels.
- In the meantime, heat a small empty frying pan to toast some seeds (I used a mix of sunflower, sesame and watermelon seeds) until golden and crunchy.
- Cut the camembert or brie in slices (I used a whole 250g / 8ozCamembert Rustique de Printemps).
- Heat a griddle pan until smoking hot, brush the asparagus with avocado oil, and grill them for about 1 to 2 minutes to get a nice char, turn them – brushing them again with the avocado oil – and cook for another minute or so.
- Take them from the griddle pan and put them on an ovenproof serving dish.
- Arrange the cheese on top and take a blowtorch to them and let it melt and bubble. In absence of a pyrotechnics department, you can also whack the entire serving dish under the preheated grill of your oven.
- Season and finish with the toasted seeds for a nice crunchy element.