I am committed to the seasonal consumption of local food. While occasionally complying to the adage that it’s five o’clock somewhere when it comes to cocktails, it’s May somewhere just does not work for me . I love asparagus in spring, tomatoes in summer, apples in fall and root vegetables in the winter. As the seasons change from one into another my food shopping excitement grows. After this particularly brutal winter, snagging the first local spinach at a farm stand or picking early mint from my garden is going to be exhilarating. Ramps, garlic scapes, shell peas and asparagus are my faves and will be consumed with gusto until they are no longer available. Two springs ago I tasted an ambrosial asparagus flan at Tullulah’s in Bay Shore and the memory of it has lingered ever since. Chef Steven Scalesse shared the recipe with us last year and this spring I vow to give it a whirl.
Recipe by Chef Steven Scalesse of Tullulah’s, Bay Shore
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
½ bunch parsley, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 quart heavy cream
12 egg yolks
2 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
4 gelatin sheets
Preheat oven to 325°. Bloom sheets of gelatin in cold water. Set aside. Cut trimmed asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan, then add sliced asparagus and chopped parsley. Reduce heat to medium and sweat down until tender. Add heavy cream to sauce pan and steep flavors together. Separate egg yolks from whites, placing the yolks into a large mixing bowl. Add gelatin sheets to saucepan and whisk them until they dissolve. With a hand blender, puree cream mixture until fine and smooth. Strain mixture through a mesh strainer catching large particles. Add mixture to egg yolks and whisk vigorously, tempering eggs with hot liquid. Set aside to rest and skim bubbles off the top.
Place liquid into ramekins (1½-inch deep), and cook in hot water bath for 25 to 30 minutes. They should still have a little shake to them when you pull them out (like Jell-O), and they will set the rest of the way when cooling off.
Pairs great with seared filet mignon, roasted chicken or butter-poached lobster.