- 1 pound asparagus tough ends trimmed
- and stalk bottoms peeled if necessary
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/3 cup finely-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1 teaspoon finely-chopped tarragon leaves plus
- 2 teaspoons finely-chopped tarragon leaves
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground white pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons finely-chopped chives
- 2 teaspoons finely-chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat picked over for shells
Trim asparagus and cut stalks diagonally into 1-inch lengths. Reserve tips separately.
In a large, heavy skillet, cook asparagus and onion in 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat until asparagus is tender, about 20 minutes. Puree asparagus mixture in a food processor until very smooth. If after pureeing the mixture you still have tough fibers, pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve before proceeding.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and lightly coat the inside of 6 (1/2-cup) ramekins with the remaining tablespoon of butter.
Transfer the pureed asparagus mixture to a mixing bowl and whisk in the eggs, heavy cream, cheese, 1 teaspoon tarragon, salt and pepper. Divide the asparagus mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins and place ramekins in a large baking pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the pan, and bake, uncovered, until flans are set, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack to cool slightly.
While flans are cooking, blanch the asparagus tips in a small saucepan of salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Rinse under cool running water to keep from overcooking and set aside to drain. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, chives, 2 teaspoons tarragon, lemon zest, Worcestershire Sauce, and salt and white pepper, to taste. Add the crabmeat and reserved asparagus tips and toss gently but thoroughly to combine. Reseason, if necessary.
When the flans have cooled slightly, run the tip of a paring knife around the edge of each flan and turn flans out onto serving plates. Garnish each flan with some of the crabmeat mixture and serve immediately. Flans are equally delicious served hot, warm, or at room temperature.
This recipe yields 6 first course servings.