Asparagus Flan with Cauliflower Puree and Parmesan “Sand”

Courtesy of Bacaro

Serves 6


For the flan:

8 ounces green asparagus

1 onion, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon garlic, chopped

¼ cup milk

¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 egg

Salt and pepper to taste

For the cauliflower puree:

1 cauliflower head, broken into small florets

1 tablespoon onion, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic, chopped

2 cups milk

Salt and pepper to taste

For the “sand”:

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ cup breadcrumbs


Quickly blanch the asparagus in salted boiling water. Chill in an ice bath, drain and set aside.

Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent, then blend together with the asparagus to make a smooth puree.

Whisk the egg into the cold milk. Add the grated parmesan and the asparagus puree until well combined. Season to taste and divide the mixture into 3-ounce ramekins.

Preheat oven to 225 F. Place the ramekins in a baking pan, then add water until they reach about half the height of the ramekins (this cooking process is called bain-marie). Bake in the oven for about 1 hour, then allow cool at room temperature.

To make the puree, sauté the onion and garlic in a pan with the olive oil. Add the cauliflower and milk, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft. Strain off the milk, season to taste and blend until smooth.

To make the “sand”, mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan. Sprinkle evenly over a flat plate and cook in the microwave until the mixture turns golden-brown (timing depends on the power of the microwave). Allow to cool and scrape off the plate onto a cutting board. Mince very finely until the consistency resembles sand.

To serve, reheat the flan in the microwave for 45 seconds (or in the oven for 3 minutes at 300 F). Run the blade of a small knife around the inside border of the ramekin and flip on the serving plate. Lay a tablespoon of cauliflower puree beside it and sprinkle the sand over the top.