Spring is here. But this year in Ontario, it came with rain. Lots of it. Lots. So instead of the glorious blooming veggie garden I have been yearning for all winter-long, the past few weeks have just been a blur of soaked boots, flooded plant beds and water-drowned sprouts. My cute little baby kales (planted back in April with so much joy and aspiration) are dead. So are the habanero peppers, the mint, the oregano and the basil. Earlier this week I finally had to acknowledge that I would have to wait a few more weeks before I can enjoy the humble harvest of my gardening labor…
Luckily enough, Niagara is a great farming land and foraging for fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables is easy enough. Farmers are surely not scared of a little flood (most of them probably welcome it with open arms), and we are starting to see the land’s first bounties filling local stalls.
And what better time than spring to showcase fresh, seasonal vegetables in a fluffy signature French dish – the clafoutis? And clafoutis filled with vegetables and cheese are taking the French pancake from sweet to savory.
Asparagus season is in full swing in Ontario, and I found that whipping up this savory asparagus clafoutis was a very easy and flawless way to enjoy these vibrant greens. Because of their delicate texture, cooked asparagus are usually difficult to incorporate into a dish (cake, gratin, stew, etc …) without altering their quality. But with clafoutis having a texture just as delicate, asparagus are simply perfect in it, as they can keep their tenderness and slight acidity. In this recipe, the addition of brie cheese, honey and onions make it a tasty sweet and salty dish. The texture is both fluffy and creamy, both rich and delicate, both comforting and veggie-focused.
It is best enjoyed warm – for breakfast, lunch or dinner. And needless to say it will make the most perfect Mother’s Day brunch item!
Also Lately …
I have just discovered the wonderful food blog With Salt and Pepper, and I just fell in love with Lindsay’s Photographs. Her Instagram is stunning, with bright and colorful food shots – just look at those beauties!
I am dreaming about attending Broma Bakery’s Food Photography Workshop. In just two years, Sarah has become a very successful (and insanely talented) food blogger and photographer. She is now inviting budding food photographers to her very first food photography workshop this July in beautiful Ann Arbor, Michigan. This sounds like a dream… (but I am not sure if my budget and work schedule agree).
I have been drooling over The First Mess’ latest recipe: Vegan Skillet Recipe and I am probably going to end up making it tomorrow. #Niagara #LocalLove
And for all those who might not know it yet, France has a new president: Emmanuel Macron. And because this is a food blog, I guess you should know he loves chicken cordon bleu and macarons.
Savoury Asparagus Clafoutis with Brie and HoneyPrint This
1 bunch of green asparagus (1kg)
1 medium sweet onion (ie. Vidalia or Walla Walla)
2 tablespoon honey
4 medium-sized eggs
1 cup of milk (2%)
¼ cup brie cheese, cubed
½ cup grated hard cheese (ie. Cheddar, Parmesan or Havarti)
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of black pepper
Prepare and blanch your asparagus: Snap off any woody ends of the asparagus (about ½ inch) by bending the asparagus spears until they snap at their natural breaking points. Trim off uneven ends with a knife. Plunge the asparagus spears into a pan of boiling water. Cook for just 2 minutes, until they get tender (poke a knife in them, they should be tender but not too much). Gently remove the asparagus from water (with a slotted spoon) and place directly in a bowl of ice water.
In a small pan, start frying the onion, thinly sliced, with a knob of butter and a pinch of black pepper. Add the honey, and fry the onion until they get translucent. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and the milk. Add in the flour, cubed brie cheese, the grated cheese, the salt and pepper.
Preheat your oven to 395F.
Sprinkle half of the onion in the bottom of a greased oven-safe pan (I used a round 8×8” cake pan). Pour the egg and cheese mixture on top – this should fill half of the pan in volume. Place the asparagus in the middle, and sprinkle the other half of the onion on top.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the clafoutis gets lightly golden, with slightly crispy edges and creamy/fluffy in the middle.