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Asparagus Clafoutis with Parmesan Sauce

  • Starters (Appetizers)
  • Mains
  • Spring
  • Gluten free
5

Asparagus Clafoutis, an elegant yet simple starter or light summer supper served with creamy parmesan sauce. Just add the French baguette.

Asparagus Clafoutis


Have you ever tried a savoury Clafoutis?  The French Clafoutis is best known as the classic cherry baked custard dessert but when spring pokes its head out in France, I urge you to make this savoury green Asparagus Clafoutis.

It’s delicate. It’s divine. Served in a pool of the creamiest parmesan sauce, you’ll want to dive in with a crusty baguette to mop up every insy winsy bit of it.

A Savoury Version of a Classic French Clafoutis

Our family is totally mad about French Clafoutis every summer. It’s also my Corsican mother-in-law’s go-to classic dark cherry dessert – and just as delicious made with fresh raspberries – or my latest fruity craze, a versatile gluten free version with strawberries, blueberries & lemon, or with apricots and lavender. Made with apples or pears, however, it’s called a flaugnarde, as it has a different texture. But I digress.

A savoury clafoutis is so tendance: it’s becoming increasingly popular in French traiteurs (delicatessens) – even our local boucherie (butcher shop) has a clafoutis with cherry tomatoes and courgettes. It’s like a quiche without the pastry.

This savoury clafoutis is an interesting way to serve asparagus; it’s so light as a starter (appetizer) or for a light lunch.

White Asparagus French Clafoutis

Asparagus Clafoutis Inspiration

You may recall I tried out this gorgeous custardy White Asparagus & Lemon Clafoutis recipe, adapted and inspired by Chef Eric Frechon from the Bristol in Paris.  Served in one big dish, I added lemon to it. The association of lemon with the parmesan (inside the Clafoutis) and asparagus is a match in heaven.

Then I made individual clafoutis, serving them out of muffin moulds. Oh so chic!

Lemon Asparagus Clafoutis

Asparagus Clafoutis with Parmesan Sauce

The recipe below is different. This asparagus clafoutis is without the lemon and served in a pool of the most silky, creamy parmesan sauce. It’s perfect for mopping up with a crusty baguette. Did you know there’s a French phrase for that? It’s called ‘saucer‘, the French verb to mop up delicious sauces with bread.

The addition of a parmesan sauce with an asparagus clafoutis just takes it to another level! It’s so good, you may decide to double the quantity!

How to Prepare & Cook Asparagus

This time last year, I was kindly invited to take part in a pilot run for Parisian cookery classes with Chef Philippe Excoffier in Paris’s 7th arrondissement, where I wrote up an article about the delicious experience. It’s where the chef serves his legendary cheese soufflés, Soufflés Suissesse. I strongly recommend trying out this signature dish in his restaurant in rue de l’Exposition, near the Eiffel Tower.

Chef Excoffier showed us how to prepare asparagus and how long to cook it:

  • First snap off the asparagus bottoms (about 1/4 of the way up, where they break naturally) – this is the part of asparagus we do no eat;
  • Remove the pedoncules or spikes to make digestion easier;
  • Bring well-salted water to a rolling boil and cook the asparagus only 3-4 minutes;
  • Immediately remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into cold (ideally with ice) water to stop the cooking process.

Asparagus Clafoutis

Difference Between A Soufflé and a Clafoutis

Both classic French recipes are eggy. While the Clafoutis is not exactly the most stylish looking dish when served, it’s not to be confused with the soufflé.

Made with a béchamel and mounted egg whites, the soufflé stays upright and puffy.
The much easier clafoutis doesn’t need the same kind of rigorous preparation. However, it falls back down after cooling from the oven – but there’s nothing to worry about when that happens: it’s totally normal and as it should be! The taste is just as delicious.

Asparagus Clafoutis

Chef Excoffier added a parmesan sauce to his Parisian soufflés and served them with asparagus on the side.  The flavours together are divine! So this recipe is a mixture of admiration of ideas from both chefs, by adding a parmesan sauce.

asparagus clafoutis with parmesan sauce basil top

French Asparagus Clafoutis with Parmesan Sauce

asparagus clafoutis with parmesan sauce basil top
5 from 13 votes

Asparagus Clafoutis with Parmesan Sauce

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course : Appetizer, Starter, Light Lunch, Supper, Brunch
Cuisine : French
Keyword : asparagus recipes, savoury clafoutis recipe, french asparagus recipe
Calories : 395kcal

Description

A perfect elegant yet simple dinner starter or light summer lunch. Serve with a crusty baguette to mop up the most silky creamy parmesan sauce. The sauce quantity is good for individual portions but if making this as one big family size, I'd double the sauce quantity.

Ingredients

  • 500 g (1 lb) fresh asparagus (2 bunches)
  • 3 eggs organic
  • 2 egg yolks organic
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) all-purpose flour (or 1/2 tbsp cornflour to make this gluten-free)
  • 115 ml (4fl oz) half-fat single cream (I use 12% fat cream)
  • 55 g (2oz) matured parmesan cheese finely grated (about 2/3 cup)
  • good pinch each salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan Sauce

  • 55 g (2oz) matured parmesan cheese finely grated
  • 140 ml (5 fl oz) half-fat single cream (1/4 pint)
  • good pinch each ground nutmeg, salt & pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F/160°C fan/Gas 4.  Prepare 4 ramekin oven dishes (or 6 muffin moulds) by greasing them well with softened butter. 
    Snap the asparagus spears about 1/4 off the bottom, where they break naturally. Peel or scrape them as close as possible to the spear heads then cut the spears into 3.
  • Fill a large pan with water and bring to a rolling boil.  Add a generous heaped teaspoon of salt to the cooking water. Prepare a large bowl of (preferably iced) cold water.
  • Cook the asparagus for 3 minutes (no more than 4 minutes if they're more chunky). Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately transfer to the cold water to stop the cooking process. 
  • Prepare the clafoutis batter: beat the eggs, yolks, grated parmesan, flour and season with salt and pepper.
  • Drain the asparagus, setting aside a spear top per person for the decor and one spear top each for the clafoutis. Place the rest of the asparagus in a food processor and mix to a purée with some of the batter. 
  • Stir in the puréed asparagus to the rest of the batter. Pour into the individual buttered ramekin dishes/muffin moulds, placing a spear top in each. Alternatively, pour into one buttered ovenproof dish, throwing in the rest of the spears. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes (35 mins for a large clafoutis).
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes, then using a sharp knife, release the clafoutis from around the edges and place directly on the serving plates.

For the Parmesan Sauce:

  • Bring the cream to the boil, adding some salt, pepper and a pinch of ground nutmeg.  Add the parmesan then beat together well until smooth with a balloon whisk. Serve immediately around each clafoutis.

Notes

Decorate with an asparagus spear, a basil top or edible flowers.  Also delicious with smoked salmon. Serve with a crusty French baguette.
I used 4 ramekin dishes but regular muffin moulds also work well, including briochette silicone moulds (makes 6 generous portions).
Wine Suggestions: Serve with a fruity white wine - such as a Voignier (Condrieu a real treat!), a dry Muscat or Riesling from Alsace, or Chenin from the Loire (Savennières).

French Asparagus Clafoutis

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Reviews (20)

5 stars
how delicious Jill. i love a good savoury dish, and this looks superb. i love asparagus of whatever kind.
cheers
sherry

Thrilled to hear this, Sherry – thanks!

5 stars
Oh goodness, I must be very strange as I dislike green asparagus, but discovered that I really like the white one a few years ago. Unfortunately, I’ve only seen it here in LA once and it was ridiculously priced. Love these savoury clafoutis, Jill and the Parmesan sauce is delectable! Thanks for another fabulous recipe AND great video! 🙂 You’re a natural!

Yes, white asparagus is incredibly juicy, isn’t it? Both make this clafoutis so different yet that parmesan sauce go insanely well with either. Thanks for your lovely words as ever, Christina x

5 stars
Jill, so happy you published this, as we tried it and loved it! In fact, you might not have seen it, but I did a miniature version of it for my newest blog post! When you recommended to use a silicone mold, I remembered that I had bought a silicone chocolate mold a few months ago and it worked just perfectly! I will tell you that we couldn’t eat all that I had made and of course, we refrigerated the leftovers. We are having heatwave here right now and only want to eat cold food and I have to say that these clafoutis are actually really delicious served cold as well (without the parmesan sauce), with some of the crusty bread you recommend! Excellent recipe and so honored to make it for my Teeny Tea!!

Dearest Betty,
What a most imaginative, magical post you created. Thank you so much for sharing the asparagus clafoutis and parmesan sauce. Imagine you recreating this so cleverly as a miniature? Hats off to you! And waving back to Mrs Tiggy Winkle. Feel that I’ve sat down to tea in a wee, magical world.

5 stars
Just coming back to leave a follow-up comment about this delicious recipe! The second time making it was to accompany your Smoked Tea Beurre Blanc Salmon and what a lovely combination it makes. Very rich and elegant. I found I did not buy enough asparagus for the entire recipe, but reduced all the other ingredients by a bit and it was very forgiving and still turned out absolutely delicious. As I mentioned above, the leftovers are just as yummy, eaten the next day for luncheon with some crusty bread. In fact, I can see making this in the summer as a picnic dish, taken in a small cooler. Lovely!

Thanks so much for getting back to me after making the recipe, Betty. So delighted you love this too. We adore it in summer – great idea on the picnic – and so honoured you made it at Christmas time. Have a most delicious New Year!


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