Spring Eats


This is the best recipe for the day.

Asparagus with Parmesan Pudding and Prosciutto

It is one of those recipes that is so perfect you kind of don’t know what you did before it. It is something I will look forward to serving every spring from now until forever.

The recipe comes from April Bloomfield’s beautiful book, A Girl and Her Pig, which is a book that always makes me want to cook. In this recipe, Bloomfield brilliantly combines the eggs and Parmesan that pair so naturally with asparagus in a pudding. Add some toasted bread and thin slices of prosciutto and you have everything you need. I made this platter for lunch on Saturday and Bryan and Katie and I all ate it up while almost constantly remarking on how good it tasted. It is one of those recipes that makes it hard to talk about much else.


The Parmesan pudding will keep for a day or two in the fridge, so feel free to make it in advance. If you do, bring it to room temperature before serving. The whole platter can be served at room temperature, so it is a nice thing to make if you have friends coming over for lunch. Of course you can serve this without the prosciutto, but it wont be as good. The next day we spread some of the pudding on toast and topped it with thinly sliced radishes and chives, which was a very good vegetarian option (pics on Instagram!).

Hope you’re all well and enjoying the growing season as much as I am!


Asparagus with Parmesan Pudding and Prosciutto (adapted from A Girl and Her Pig by April Bloomfield)

For the Pudding:
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1-ounce chunk Parmesan, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon Maldon or other flaky sea salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

For the Asparagus:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus a drizzle
16 asparagus spears, a little thicker than a pencil, woody bottoms discarded
Maldon or other flaky sea salt
A very small handful of small, tender basil leaves
1/2 lemon
12 thin slices prosciutto
Grilled or toasted slices of rustic bread

Make the pudding: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Combine the cream and milk in a measuring cup. Pour half of the mixture into a medium pot, add the garlic, Parmesan, and salt, and set the pot over medium heat. Let the liquid come to a simmer and cook for 1 minute, then turn off the heat. Whisk the hot mixture until it is smooth.

Combine the egg, egg yolk and the remaining cold cream mixture in a medium bowl and whisk thoroughly. Whisk in the hot blended mixture.

Pour the mixture into a small (2-cup) gratin dish. Fold a small kitchen towel into a square, put it into a large baking dish, and set the gratin dish on top. Pour enough water into the pot to come to about an inch from the dish’s rim.

Carefully put the dish(es) in the oven and cook 20-25 minutes, or just until the custard has set; it should be slightly firm around the edges but still wobbly in the middle. Remove the dish from the oven and let the custard cool in the water, then remove it. (You can refrigerate the custard overnight, if you wish. Serve it at room temperature.)

Make the asparagus: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pan big enough to hold all the asparagus in one layer just until it begins to smoke. Add the asparagus to the pan, lining up the spears in the same direction. The oil should crackle and sizzle a bit. Give the spears a toss with tongs, sprinkle with a good pinch of salt, and spread out in one layer. Cook, turning the spears occasionally, until they’re golden brown in spots and tender but still snappy, about 6 minutes. Give one of the spears a squeeze—it should give just a little; it shouldn’t feel either very firm or mushy.
Just a minute before they’re done, sprinkle the basil over the asparagus and drizzle on a little more olive oil. Flip the spears with tongs and play with the basil a little, giving it time against the hot pan and then moving it back onto the asparagus. It’s nice if it gets just a little crispy.

Take off the heat and let the asparagus gently finish cooking in the heat of the pan, stirring now and then and sprinkling on a little more salt and a splash of lemon juice,  just until you can pick up a spear without scalding your fingers.

Serve the asparagus on a platter with the custard, prosciutto, and olive oil–lashed toasted or grilled bread alongside.

28 comments to “Spring Eats”

  1. Sounds delicious! About how long in the oven does it take for the pudding to set?

  2. Looks like perfection to me. What a beautiful idea – thanks for sharing!

  3. This looks divine. Parmesan pudding? Be still my beating heart! I think proscuitto, asparagus and parmesan together is one of my absolute favourites – definitely bookmarking this recipe – thanks for sharing! xx

  4. i just got asparagus, chives, and radishes in my CSA box this week … now i have a plan for what to do with them!

  5. I made this when I first got April Bloomfield’s cookbook. I wish I could say my pudding turned out as beautifully as yours, but I just couldn’t get mine to set up. Perhaps I should try again–the flavors were certainly wonderful together!

  6. Nice recipe; a good (although very rich) way to make the most of a good Parmesan, and a nice combination of flavors and textures, too.

  7. Any ideas on what to replace the Prosciutto with? I don’t eat meat, eggs & dairy yes but no meat. I was thinking eggplant bacon or sweet black Chinese eggplant. I don’t know what Prosciutto tastes like or the mouth feel. Any suggestions.

  8. Parmesan pudding! What an idea. Looks wonderful.

  9. To get a taste to offset the parmesan flan, and no Meat, I Would make som oatmeal/malt thin chrisps .it’ S not ham, but the flavored Would be very good, i’ ll be making some to have with the flan and the ham..aspargus and watercress.

  10. Hey Mix- There isn’t a good sub for prosciutto…but I am sure you’ll come up with something nice. Simply omitting it would be good if you want to still include asparagus. Once you try the pudding, I am sure you’ll have other ideas!

  11. I’m not sure who started it, but Parmesan pudding is pure genius.

    Mixolidia, I think you can go sweet as well here. Walnuts and honey?…

  12. Hey Nicholas- Hmmmm. I’m not sure I would go sweet here unless you omit the garlic. It is decidedly savory and very cheese/garlic-y.

  13. Hi Tim. I guess the garlic and cheese can clash though 1 small clove is not much to my Italian palate. Walnuts and honey are wonderful compliments to Parmesan and the crunch of the nuts would contrast nicely against the creamy pudding. You could even omit the toast at that point, though now it’s becoming a different recipe. (Which is what I like about this recipe. It’s a springboard.)

    That being said garlic and honey is not something I’ve tried before. Nor have I tried honey and asparagus….

  14. Jennifer Wilson says:

    June 3rd, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Thank you for referencing Grey Gardens in this post! I think Little Edie would love this recipe.

  15. sarainamerica says:

    June 3rd, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    This looks fantastic. Can’t wait to try it.

  16. Wow, well this is awesome. I had no idea this type of thing even existed… now I feel like I’ve been missing out on so much. Thanks for sharing this, Tim. Oh! And about two days ago, I made the rhubarb fools (also from April Bloomfield) you shared a bit over a year ago, and they were amazing!! I was eating the vanilla-rhubarb compote by the spoonful, but it was even better (and prettier, which never hurts things) with the cardamom cream.

  17. Wow amazing!

  18. I should be jogging, instaed I’m teasing my appetite in front of this recipe… looks delicious.

  19. Oh this sounds amazing. And so simple too. I am not surprised you and your friends loved this and I think the way you have served it sounds so perfect too!

  20. hey! asparagus isn’t native to Lahore but this looks interesting enough to go out and search. :)

  21. What a beautiful idea! I love the enamel dishes as well. I’ll be bookmarking this for the Southern Hemisphere spring :)

  22. So glad somebody else besides me has the experience of “recipes that make it hard to talk about much else.” I feel like that happens to my husband and I every once in awhile, and in my head, I’m always thinking “this is so embarrassing…isn’t there ANYTHING else we can talk about besides this food?” haha.

  23. What about adding a touch of polenta for a touch of texture, or would that come out funny?

  24. Hey Amy- Yeah, I don’t think that would be very good. I don’t really want my puddings to have textures other than smooth and creamy. But polenta is delicious and would be good with asparagus in another recipe!

  25. Thanks, Tim, for turning us on to this fantastic and adaptable recipe. I had to bake the pudding for 50 minutes to get it to set, but it was delicious! Husband had the leftover pudding for breakfast the next day, spread on an english muffin and topped with bacon and eggs. It was so good, it made me rethink my dislike of fried eggs.

  26. You’re welcome, Anne! Whoa, 50 minutes is a looooong time for this. I wonder what happened? I have baked it in between 20-22 minutes each time. Hmmmm…

  27. I love this recipe. Sometimes when I make this I use just the tips. If so I arrange the toasts on a platter, & if I keep the spears whole I let the guests assemble the bites themselves. Way more fun, & the presentation is lovely.

    Speaking of April Bloomfield – I am on my way to Spotted Pig now.

  28. It takes some time, but it must be delicious!
    Have you tried this with grated Gruyère instead of Parmesan? I’m asking because we have some amazing Gryuere cheese here in Greece, especially the one from the island of Naxos.
    Thank you for sharing this.

What do you think?