Now that BBQ season is in full swing again, we seem to be settling into the something-thrown-on-the-grill type of meals. It’s all good and delicious, but especially when it’s on the lighter side, like chicken or fish, I long for something a little saucy to go with it.
I have made this dish a few times and, while it may look like a bit of a hot mess, I have found this the best way to cook it up. I love the crispy cheesy bits. I love that part of the asparagus is left naked. And I love that you can take as much or as little of the cheesy sauce as you like.
Of course, this isn’t an everyday indulgence, but as a once-in-a-while treat, it’s a tasty and different way to enjoy Spring asparagus. (It would also be great for entertaining or a brunch table. You can easily cook this up in a pretty, shallow oblong serving dish, to spruce it up a bit).
Creamy Baked Asparagus and Aged Cheddar
This is a great side dish for a grilled meat meal. It would also be great for entertaining or a brunch table.
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed of woody ends (about 20 spears)
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- Scant 1 cup milk
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 tsp of dry, powdered mustard
- Dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups grated aged, white cheddar
- Preheat oven to 400° F. with rack in centre of oven, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
- If your asparagus is thick, blanch the asparagus in a large pan of salted water for one minute, remove and refresh in ice water or microwave on a plate for about 90 seconds. If your asparagus is thin, you’re probably good to go as is. Divide the asparagus in half and lay on parchment on baking sheet with the cut ends touching in the middle. Set aside.
- In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes until lightly golden. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk to form a smooth sauce. Return to the heat, stir and simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened.
- Remove from the heat and beat in the egg yolk, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Taste and add more salt, as needed. Season with freshly ground pepper.
- Pour sauce over the middle of the asparagus. Top with the grated cheddar cheese.
- Bake at 400 ° F. for 8-10 minutes, then move rack to upper part of oven, switch your oven to broil and broil until the sauce is bubbly and golden.
- Top with a bit more freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.
Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 10 min | Total time: 20 min
Number of servings (yield): 6