This time of year represents yet another opportunity to wake up from winter’s deep dream and celebrate the rising sap of spring! Flan is on my mind with freshly picked wild asparagus.

I would like to share a recipe for Sformato di Asparagi ~ Asparagus Flan ~ from brilliant chef Angelo Cabani.

Angelo has a restaurant, “Locanda Miranda”, on the Ligurian coast near the Cinque Terre in Italy. I have been a great fan and friend for many years and still know where to find him; behind his stove with a booming voice at 80.

In Tuscany, wild asparagus grows plentifully down quaint country roads. It’s a fun pastime to forage and collect and bring the cleansing flavors of spring into our kitchen.

Keep us in mind as you hunt and gather your next travel adventure. Let’s cook up something good together!

 Recipe: Sformato di Asparagi ~ Asparagus Flan

2 bunches of asparagus, bottoms trimmed
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 T grated Parmegiano Reggiano
salt and pepper to taste
butter to coat small ramekins
olive oil to drizzle


Simmer the asparagus until tender, then drain and rough chop. Puree cooked asparagus in a blender with a little bit of cooking liquid. Let cool and incorporate the egg yolks, cream, parmesan, salt and pepper. Pour the custard into buttered 2 oz ramekins and place the ramekins in a deep pan (ie. lasagna pan). Carefully add boiling water to the pan, half-way up the ramekins, to make a Bain Marie. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes or until springy to the touch. Using oven mitts, remove the flans from the oven. Unmold each ramekin by turning upside down onto a plate. Tap the plate on the table a couple of times to release the flans. Drizzle with olive oil and a turn of pepper. Perfect alongside white fish or roasted chicken.

Recipe by Angelo Cabani.
Yield: approximately 14 ramekins

By the way, sformato means “unmolded” in Italian. Enjoy!

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