Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Creamy Baked Asparagus with Dubliner Cheese

Need an easy way to make a springtime side dish ahead of time?
Maybe something for Easter, which isn't that far away.
Here's just the one.
This appealed to me because who doesn't want a creamy, cheesy asparagus that's easy to prepare?
I found this idea on Pinterest, I thought I would give it a try as I had all the ingredients on hand.  Of course, I took some liberties with the recipe, the first one was not adding the egg yolk (as requested in the original) as the sauce was already so thick, it didn't need it. I also adjusted the ratios so that the sauce was thinner and more enjoyable to eat. 
Here's the original recipe.

Serves 4-6

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed of woody ends
2 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
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 Dubliner, or White cheddar, grated

Preheat oven to 400° F. wίth rack ίn center of oven, and lίne a bakίng sheet wίth parchment paper or non-stίck foil. Ίf your asparagus ίs thick, blanch the asparagus ίn a large pan of salted water for one mίnute, remove and refresh ίn ίce water or mίcrowave on a plate for about 90 seconds. Ίf your asparagus ίs thίn, you’re probably good to go as ίs. Spread the asparagus out on parchment on bakίng sheet. Set asίde.

Ίn a medίum sauce pan, melt the butter over medίum heat. Add the flour and whίsk, stίrrίng constantly for 1-2 mίnutes untίl lίghtly golden. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whίsk ίn the mίlk to form a smooth sauce. Add mustard, Worcestershίre sauce and salt. Return to the heat, stίr and sίmmer for 2-3 mίnutes untίl thίckened.     Taste and add more salt, as needed. Season wίth freshly ground pepper.
 Pour sauce over the mίddle of the asparagus. (My sauce is a bit thick, so I adjusted my recipe above so that your sauce will not be this thick).

Top wίth the grated cheddar cheese. Bake at 400 ° F. for 10-12 mίnutes, then move rack to upper part of oven, swίtch your oven to broίl and broίl untίl the sauce ίs bubbly and golden. Top wίth a bίt more freshly ground pepper and serve ίmmedίately.

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