“Spring is coming, spring is coming” is the daily chant I’m using right now to keep myself sane. We’ve had flashes of it with some 55-degree days, and it hasn’t been a hard winter in the Midwest, but I’m in need of sunshine, flip flops, eating dinner on the deck, drinking on patios, farmers markets, warm-months produce and consistent walks for my lab who desperately needs to learn how to walk on a leash. But I digress: ASPARAGUS SEASON IS COMING. This is how I truly know it’s spring, when this starts popping up in grocery stores and it’s NOT $4.99 a pound.
A Dutch baby is a cross between a popover, Yorkshire pudding, Gougere, and custardy pancake (all the puffy things). This one is filled with asparagus and melty, crusty cheese and topped with just enough spicy herb oil to give it some freshness. This would be a great brunch dish or might I suggest this for an easy dinner with a salad on the side? No matter the time of day, this will be a welcome addition to your menu.
Asparagus and Cheese Popover with Spicy Herb Oil
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
ASPARAGUS AND CHEESE POPOVER:
8 ounces asparagus, tough ends removed
4 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces coarsely shredded Fontina cheese
1 ounce finely shredded Parmesan
2 tablespoons butter
Coarse flaky sea salt, for garnish
SPICY HERB OIL:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh basil, cut into chiffonade and chopped (about 2 large leaves)
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425°. Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to preheat while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, prepare an ice bath. Add the trimmed asparagus and cook for 1 minute, until the asparagus is very crisp-tender. Remove from the boiling water and immediately place in the ice bath. Once chilled, drain on paper towels to remove excess water.
Mix the eggs and milk together in a medium mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the flour until it is completely incorporated and no lumps remain. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in 3 ounces of the shredded Fontina. Remove the skillet from the oven and put the butter in, stirring to allow it to melt completely. Pour the batter into the skillet and arrange the drained asparagus over the top. Grind some fresh pepper on top before placing in the oven. Bake for 13 minutes, until puffed and the edges are golden. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining 1 ounce shredded Fontina and 1 ounce grated Parmesan, ensuring you sprinkle cheese all around the crust, allowing it to touch the skillet. This will create a deliciously cheesy crust around your popover. Return to the oven for 3 minutes to melt the cheese. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Combine all of the ingredients for the spicy herb oil in a small bowl. Spread over the finished popover. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. You can grate a little fresh Parmesan over top, if you need more cheese.
Inspiration: Asparagus and Cheese Popover with Spicy Herb Oil on cookingchanneltv.com