Asparagus

Perhaps the most prized of all vegetables, asparagus in general requires only careful poaching in salted water, and then to be served hot with melted butter or hollandaise sauce, or cold with a good dressing, or with a delicate mayonnaise. However, Mrs Glasse’s Asparagus Forced in French Rolls is so elegant and unusual that I have included it.

Ingredients

  • butter
  • 50–70 asparagus stalks, not too thick
  • 3 small French loaves (half a loaf for each person)
  • lettuce
  • 1 pint (6 dl.) (double) cream
  • 6 eggs
  • nutmeg, salt and pepper

Method

Cook all the asparagus till just tender. Cut off all the inedible stalks. Leave two thirds whole and chop one third into small bits.

Cut a long lid off each loaf. Scoop out all the crumb. Cut holes through the lid with a pointed knife, large enough to take the shortened asparagus stems – 15 or so in each lid. Fry the rolls and lids very crisp in butter, and leave to drain well.

Beat the eggs and cream with the nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir over low heat or over a saucepan of boiling water till it begins to thicken. Add the chopped asparagus and when about the consistency of mayonnaise, quickly fill the fried loaves with it. Put on the lids, stick the asparagus through the holes as if it were growing, stand in a large flat dish in the oven for 3–5 minutes to make quite hot. The oven should be moderate or the asparagus will dry. Cut each loaf in half when serving; if divided earlier, the cream filling may run out.

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