The name “asparagus” is derived from the Greek word for “sprout” or “shoot” and has been cultivated since Egyptian times. The two types are green and white. White asparagus is the same plant but it is kept covered with dirt to prevent the sunlight from turning it green.
I prefer to use the larger spears and find them to actually be tenderer than the thin ones. The larger spears are from younger, more vigorous plants.
Asparagus has a bad reputation regarding wine pairing, but I believe that it goes very well with fruity, un-oaked styles of wine such as St. Supéry Sauvignon Blanc. The following recipe combines fresh spring asparagus with the classic Sauvignon Blanc pairing of goat cheese to produce a dish that really makes the wine sing. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
ASPARAGUS & GOAT CHEESE CUSTARD
1 lb fresh asparagus, cut into 1/4″ pieces
3 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
1/2 cup leeks – white part only, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup St. Supéry Sauvignon Blanc
1 cup cream
10 oz. soft goat cheese
4 eggs, large
Salt & white pepper to taste
Non-stick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Heat the oil over a low flame in a large frying pan and sauté the leeks and garlic until soft. Add the asparagus then season with salt & pepper to taste. Add the wine and simmer, covered, until the asparagus is tender. Add a little water if the pan dries out. Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree.
Heat the cream to a simmer in a saucepan and add the goat cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted.
Place the cream & goat cheese mixture, asparagus, and the eggs into the blender. Blend until smooth.
Spray 8 – four-ounce ramekins with the nonstick spray and fill about 3/4 full with the asparagus mixture. Place the ramekins in a large baking dish and fill with enough hot water to come about half way up the ramekins. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the custard is no longer liquid
Serve warm or at room temperature.