Sformato di Asparagi (Asparagus Terrine)
Sformato is a savory vegetable custard. This light first course can be made ahead, and refrigerated for up to three days.
2 Tbs. unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
1 ¼ lb. fresh asparagus
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 cup nonfat milk
⅓ cup finely minced onion
¼ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 300F. Coat bottom and sides of 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray; coat with breadcrumbs.
- Trim off and discard tough stem ends from asparagus. Cut 1 1/2 inches off tips; set tips aside.
- Bring pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; add asparagus stalks, and cook 3 to 4 minutes; add tips, and cook 3 minutes more, or until tender. Drain, and pat dry.
- Heat 2 Tbs. butter in saucepan over low heat. Add flour, and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Add milk, and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes, or until smooth and thick. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature; stir occasionally.
- Heat remaining 1 Tbs. butter in saucepan over low heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10 minutes. Scrape into food processor, add asparagus stalks and purée until smooth; transfer to bowl.
- Stir salt, pepper and nutmeg into asparagus purée. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in white sauce. Fold all but 6 asparagus tips into mixture; scrape into loaf pan, and place pan in roasting pan. Add 2 inches of boiling water to roasting pan.
- Bake 30 minutes. Increase heat to 350F, and bake 30 to 45 minutes more, until set in center. Cool loaf pan on rack 15 minutes. Garnish with remaining 6 asparagus tips. Cut into 1-inch slices, and serve warm or at room temperature.