Asparagus Spoon Custards
An interesting little amuse bouche (French, literally translated to "mouth amuser") of pureéd asparagus, cream and Parmesan cheese served in the bowl of a spoon.
2 lb. asparagus, trimmed
2 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tbsp. chopped chives
4 tbsp. softened butter
3⁄4 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 large eggs
1. Butter a 1-qt. baking dish; line with buttered parchment. Cut tips off asparagus; cut stalks into 1-in. pieces. Steam asparagus tips about 1 min.; refresh under cold water and drain well. Set aside.
2. Steam asparagus stalks about 8 min., until tender. Drain well and pat dry. Puree asparagus stalks with cream, chives, 3 tbsp. butter, Parmesan, salt, and pepper; set aside.
3. Whisk eggs until well blended; gradually add asparagus puree, whisking until smooth.
4. Place baking dish in a hotel pan; pour hot water halfway up sides. Spoon asparagus mixture into dish. Melt remaining 1 tbsp. butter; toss with asparagus tips and arrange on top of custard.
5. Bake custard 35 min., or until set; cool slightly. Scoop onto individual teaspoons.