Asparagus and Scallion Flans

Asparagus and Scallion Flans

Springtime asparagus hardly needs any embellishments. The verdant color speaks loudly of a new season. My asparagus flan recipe is a dressed-up asparagus dish sure to be an eye-catcher as a starter, a light vegetarian option or a side option for a festive occasion.

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 lb (450 g) green asparagus
  • 2 Tbsp scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp Italian Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • butter or margarine to butter the 4 oz (120 ml) cup-sized ramekins


Wash asparagus and discard the woody ends by cutting off about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm). You can freeze the discarded asparagus ends and use them at some point to prepare vegetable stock. Select 8 whole asparagus spears and 8 asparagus tips to use later for garnish. Set aside. Cut remaining asparagus into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces.

Set aside a roasting pan, large enough to hold 4 ramekins comfortably. Butter ramekins well.

Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).

Bring water to a boil and add salt. Cook asparagus pieces for about 8 minutes or until very soft. Drain and reserve the asparagus cooking water. Plunge asparagus pieces immediately in a bowl with ice water to retain the nice green color. Drain again and spread pieces onto paper towels to cool off. Puree asparagus pieces in a food mill. Scrape the puree into a bowl. You should have about 2 cups of pureed asparagus. Add the scallions, parsley, Parmesan, heavy cream, the beaten eggs, salt, and pepper.

Set buttered ramekins in the roasting pan. Divide the asparagus/scallions puree mix among the 4 ramekins. They should be about 3/4 full. Fill roasting pan with warm water up to half the height of ramekins taking care not to spill any water inside the ramekins. Bake for about 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove ramekins from the water bath and let them cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. It’s ok if they collapse a bit.

In the meantime bring the saved asparagus cooking water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the reserved asparagus spears and tips for 3-5 minutes or until “al dente”. Drain and plunge them into ice water. Drain again and set aside on paper towels to drain until ready to garnish.

Run a thin-bladed knife around the inside of the ramekins to loosen the flan. Take a small plate and place it on top of the ramekin. Invert it. You will have the bottom part as your top. It should come out easily. If not, give it a jerk and try again. Gently place another plate on top of your inverted flan, taking care not to squash it. Slide it gently onto a larger plate if desired. Garnish each asparagus/scallion flan with 2 asparagus tips and 2 asparagus spears serve as an appetizer or as a side dish.

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