Asparagus flan – this luscious savory custard, infused with the delicate flavors of asparagus, crab meat, and fresh tarragon is so light and airy, and tastes absolutely sublime! It’s a great first course or appetizer, or can be served as a main dish, coupled with a fresh salad, and a glass of chilled white wine.
Here’s a nice little spring appetizer you can make this season, especially if you are expecting guests for dinner. Its delicate flavors of grassy asparagus, mild crab and sweet tarragon are just meant to be together, and what better way to combine them all than a scrumptious savory custard! It’s a real treat, and I actually enjoyed it as a main dish for supper with a nice green salad.
I have to warn you though – you have to consciously stop yourself and slow down with it, because it’s almost like eating dessert – you keep digging in for another spoonful, and it goes down pretty quickly because it literally melts in your mouth, with its tender, fluffy, custardy texture.
If you are skeptical about the seafood and bacon in there, don’t worry – the crab flavor is so mild, and there’s so little, it’s barely detectable. The bacon flavor is subtle too. But that’s on purpose – I wanted to taste every single ingredient so that none can be too overpowering. Feel free to increase the amount of whichever you prefer and skew the taste to your liking. Normally I love strong and smoky flavors, but here it’s more about the freshness of the asparagus which should come forward.
I will leave you with this, and will go do some last minute shopping for the trip. I will hopefully have a ton of Mexican-inspired recipes when I come back!!
Asparagus flan - this luscious savory custard, infused with the delicate flavors of asparagus, crab meat, and fresh tarragon is so light and airy, and tastes absolutely sublime!
- 1/2 lbs asparagus (about 18-20 stalks)
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup cooked crab meat (I used canned)
- 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
- 2 Tbs butter (plus more for greasing the pots)
- 3 Tbs chopped fresh tarragon, divided
- 1 piece bacon
- 2 Tbs Parmesan cheese
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 2/3 tsp salt + black pepper to taste
Trim the woody bottom part of the asparagus, and peel the stalks if too tough.
Bring a pot of salted water to boil, and cook the asparagus for 5-6 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, and preserve the bright green color.
Cut the tips of the asparagus - about 2-inches from the top, and reserve those pieces for garnishing. Chop the rest into small pieces.
In a blender, combine the milk, and the chopped asparagus pieces with 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 Tbs of chopped tarragon, the nutmeg, black pepper, and the Parmesan cheese. Blend until smooth.
Run the blended mix through a sieve, then mix in the beaten eggs, and the cream. Taste, and adjust the salt and black pepper if needed.
Preheat your oven to 350° F.
Cut the bacon piece into small dice, and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Remove from the pan, drain and reserve.
In the same pan, melt 1 Tbs of butter, add the crab meat, with the rest of the chopped tarragon, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes.
Butter 6 ramekins with about 1 Tbs of soft butter. Sprinkle some salt and pepper at the bottom, and divide the crab filling, and the reserved bacon among the ramekins. Pour about 1/2 cup of the egg mix into each ramekin, and place 3 pieces of the reserved asparagus spears on top.
Place the ramekins into a deep pan, fill half way with warm water, and bake the flans for 40-45 minutes, until they are no longer liquid in the middle. Slight jiggle is OK.
Remove and let cool. Serve warm, or at room temperature as an appetizer, or first course, and pair with a glass of chilled white wine!