This is a Guillaume Brahimi recipe and I think it is rather impressive.
It take a bit of time and his instruction to peel the asparagus (!!!) is too far, though it looks and tastes the part if served as an amuse-bouche; in fact, it looks really quite elegant.
I have a few recipes like this where people really appreciate the cut above home cooking and if you are cooking to impress, you really should give this a go.
20 spears (2 ½ bunches) asparagus
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 garlic glove, thinly sliced
500ml (2 cups) chicken stock
2 egg yolks
200ml pouring cream
50ml extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely diced
¼ long red chilli, finely chopped
150gm speck, cut into 5cm dice
100ml chicken stock
25ml sherry vinegar
- Trim (and peel! – no, do not peel) 8 asparagus tips and set aside. Slice remaining asparagus into thin rounds, discarding the woody ends.
- Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat, add butter, shallots and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally until tender though not coloured; a few minutes.
- Add the sliced asparagus and stir until the asparagus starts to soften (2 minutes) and then add stock, season to taste and simmer until asparagus is tender; around 4 – 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and strain, reserving the cooking liquor. Blend asparagus in a blender until smooth. Add a small amount of cooking liquor if necessary in order to form a smooth puree. Pass puree through a fine sieve and refrigerate until chilled; 220ml is required for the recipe.
- Whisk eggs, yolks and clear and reserved 200ml asparagus puree in a bowl to combine and season. Pass through a fine sieve. Pour 125ml into four 185ml heatproof bowls (or ramekins) and cover with plastic wrap. Steam in a steam oven (90c) or steam very gently in a steamer basket placed over a saucepan of simmering water and steam until just set (25 – 30 minutes).
- Remove and cool to room temperature or refrigerate until needed.
- Blanch asparagus tips in boiling water and then refresh.
- For speck dressing, heat a saucepan over medium heat, add 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil, then shallots and chilli and stir occasionally until tender though not coloured. Add speck and stir until light golden brown; around 5 – 6 minutes, then add chicken stock and sherry vinegar and reduce by half (3 – 4 minutes). Add remaining olive oil and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
- To serve, bring asparagus custards to room temperature (if chilled), then spoon the speck dressing on top, garnish each with 2 asparagus tips and finish with a few grinds of freshly cracked pepper to taste.