Serves: 4-8 depending on size of cup - Time:
Making the most of the final day of British asparagus I have come up with this little number. I like to eat these custards like my soufflés, a little bit soft in the centre. For that reason I serve them in the cups, ramekins or whatever vessel you choose, rather than turning them out. They are best eaten with toast soldiers like a boiled egg. You could grate over or shave a little extra parmesan and sprinkle with more chopped tarragon but I rather prefer the simplicity of a single asparagus spear to garnish. My teacups are quite large and would be suitable for a light lunch rather than starter course but bake the custards in ramekins if you want to serve 6-8 people. Just be sure to check them after 15-20 minutes cooking.
- 450g trimmed asparagus (i.e. woody ends cut off)
- 3 medium eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 300ml single cream
- 200ml whole milk
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
- 90g finely grated parmesan cheese
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Heat the oven to fan 150°c, mark 2. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the asparagus and time 4 minutes (3 mins if the spears are very thin) from the time of hitting the water. Drain and refresh the asparagus in very cold water. When the spears are cold, drain again and pat dry with kitchen paper. Cut off 4-8 tips or however many cups you are using and set aside for garnish. Roughly chop the remaining asparagus and put in a liquidiser with the rest of the ingredients along with some ground black pepper. Blend to a smooth purée. Taste and season again if necessary.
- Pour the mixture into your cups or ramekins and place them in a roasting tin. Pour boiling water around the cups-coming halfway up the side of the vessels and bake in the centre of the oven forabout 30 minutes (less, about 20 mins if you are using 150ml ramekins). The custards should feel firm but with a barely discernible wobble if nudged. Lift the cups out of the roasting tin and leave for 5 minutes before serving with toast.