If you live in the northeast (or north midwest, if you prefer) like we do, you’re probably awash in asparagus about now.
Which we love – don’t get me wrong. Beloved even has half of one of our vegetable gardens planted with it in the hopes that we’ll have even more asparagus next year, aside from what we pick up from the CSA and farmer’s market. But after a month, I look at it and wonder just how the dickens I’m going to cook it. I’m beginning to feel a little bit like Bubba from Forrest Gump: there’s boiled asparagus, poached asparagus, steamed asparagus, sauteed asparagus, creamed asparagus, grilled asparagus, roasted asparagus, asparagus with mayonnaise, asparagus with hollandaise, orange asparagus…
So what did I do? I made asparagus flan.
I initially intended to make this a crustless quiche, but I’ve gotten to the point where I’m just not all that happy with my standard quiche recipe – not that it isn’t delicious, but it’s just too “watery” when it’s all said and done. I knew that adding more eggs would help (or a crust – ain’t gonna happen), but I don’t care for really “eggy” quiches, either. So afterwards, I decided to add a couple of eggs and bake it in a water bath, when it occurred to me – that’s more or less a flan.
I was really quite pleased with how this came out – it wasn’t at all watery or loose; in fact, the custard firmed up really well, but had a lovely silky texture; nor was it too “eggy” for my taste. In fact, I was so pleased with it, that this is probably going to become my “go to” method for crustless quiches, such as it were, from now on. The only thing I might do different next time I make this particular dish is cut the asparagus (which needed no pre-cooking) a little smaller.
Note: I added cheese because I thought it would compliment the flavor of the onions and asparagus well, and it did – I used a smooth Greek sheep’s milk cheese (I don’t recall the name of it), very reminiscent of Gouda, so that’s what I called for in the recipe. You can use any mild-tasting cheese that melts well. Or leave it out all together, use the coconut milk, and this becomes Whole30 compliant.
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
- 1 cup gouda cheese, shredded (optional)
- 8 ounces asparagus spears, trimmed
- 6 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream or coconut milk
- salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Melt the ghee in a heavy skillet over medium low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream or coconut milk with a little salt and pepper.
- Spread the caramelized onions over the bottom of a greased flan dish, or deep dish pie plate; sprinkle the cheese, if using, evenly over the onions. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the onions and cheese. Arrange the asparagus spears on top.
- Place the dish in a pan large enough to hold it; carefully pour very hot water around the flan, until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the dish.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the flan is set and beginning to turn golden brown on top. Remove from the water bath and cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- Nutrition (per serving): 300 calories, 25.9g total fat, 217.7mg cholesterol, 342mg sodium, 318.8mg potassium, 5.6g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 1.7g sugar, 13.1g protein