Celebrating spring, birthdays & Asperges au Gratin

Easter weekend was my birthday and I treated myself to a long overdue trip to New Orleans. What a beautiful city and what beautiful & friendly locals! The food was fantastic, I almost got my fill of seafood, almost. Crab, oysters, drumfish, shrimp, crawfish and one that I can quite decide wether I’m happy about or not, turtle. I’m hoping that this is not one of the endangered turtles…  I ate fried chicken, well no that’s not fish, but it certainly is southern food (!), and gumbo and poboys and beignets with café au lait and eggs & grits and biscuits so fluffy and buttery… Did I say the food was fantastic?! At Pêche seafood and gril, I had a variety of entrées, one of which was an absolutely spectacular smoked drumfish salad. The glass of rosé I just so happened to be drinking turned out to be a drool worthy pairing. I will certainly be trying to recreate that salad, I’m still fantasising over it!

And back home, it’s that time of year, thank God! Asparagus season 🙂  I love, love, love asparagus, so needless to say I’ll be eating them everyday and in all sorts of different ways in the coming weeks. I had a hankering for Endives au gratin and the thought crossed my mind, why not replace the endives with asparagus? And you know what? It totally works! This is a perfect light supper.

Now my mind is going crazy with asparagus inspirations!

Ingredients:

2 bunch asparagus

200 gr. ham, I used an organic cruelty free variety from my butchers

100 gr. emmental or swiss cheese, preferably local

1 cup 10% organic cream

1 tablespoon organic butter

1 tablespoon spelt flour

1/4 small onion with 1 clove

1 clove garlic, crushed

Freshly ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. To make the béchamel: Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat, add flour and mix well. Whisk in cream slowly and when well combine add half of grated cheese,  grate nutmeg and season with salt and pepper then add onion and garlic and simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile cut asparagus tips and reserve the tips for stock. Wrap asparagus with ham and place in a gratin dish. Cover with the béchamel and top with remaining grated cheese. Place in oven and cook for 15-20 minutes. If needed, broil for a few minutes to caramelize. Let cool slightly before serving. Makes 2 portions. Enjoy!

 

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