As atonement for yesterday’s verbosity, this post will be short and to the point.
Creamed Asparagus on Toast.
I’ve made it twice in three days.
(Note: the kids ate this. They didn’t love it, but they didn’t hate it either. And that says a lot, seeing as they all turn up their noses at asparagus.)
Creamed Asparagus on Toast
Adapted from a recipe that my friend Kris posted on our Farmer’s Market website.
This is a fast, last-minute meal, though there is a bit of juggling involved, what with the asparagus and toast being prepared right before serving. Keep in mind that the boiled eggs and cheese sauce can be made ahead of time.
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 ½ - 2 cups milk
½ teaspoon prepared mustard (I used Dijon)
a squirt of hot sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 ½ - 2 cups Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese (or something similar)
½ - 1 cup chopped ham, optional
1 pound of asparagus, washed and tough ends removed
6-8 hard boiled eggs
buttered toast as needed
For the cheese sauce:
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk in the flour and then add the milk (start with the lesser amount and add more as/if needed/desired), whisking steadily. Add the mustard, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. When the mixture is bubbly and thick, whisk in the cheese. Once the cheese has melted, taste to correct seasoning. Add more milk if needed/desired. Stir in the ham. Set aside.
For the asparagus:
Separate your asparagus spears into two or three piles, according to size—thick, medium, and thin. (If, unlike mine, they are all uniform, skip this step.) Keeping them in their separate piles, cut the asparagus spears into inch-long pieces.
Bring a pot of salted water to boiling. Add the thick asparagus and put the lid on the kettle. After one minute, add the medium asparagus and continue to boil, lidded, for another minute. Dump in the spindly spears and boil for a final minute. Drain the asparagus and return it to the hot pot to await assembly.
Place a piece of buttered toast on a plate. Pile on the bright green, only-slightly-tender asparagus, ladle the (reheated) cheese sauce over all, and top with a chopped boiled egg. Sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper and dig in!