Serves 4 to 6
- 1 pound asparagus
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- butter for ramekins
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup milk or chicken broth
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1⁄2 cup grated Swiss cheese
- 2 – 3 drops hot sauce
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1. Cut off top of asparagus tips at a length to match the depth of ramekins you will be using. Chop remaining spears into 1⁄4-inch pieces. In a pot of boiling water, blanch asparagus for 2 minutes, rinse under cold water and spread on linen towel to dry.
2. Separate eggs, placing whites into a large bowl. Set aside yolks.
3. Generously butter ramekins. Pat about 1 tablespoon Parmesan around the sides of each ramekin. Stand asparagus tips around the edges of the dish(es), pressing them into the cheese and butter.
4. Over medium heat in a heavy 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and continue to cook, stirring, until mixture smells toast-y and is a light tan color. Stir in liquid and continue to cook and stir over medium low heat for several minutes until it begins to thicken. Off the heat, stir in egg yolks one at a time, then return to heat and cook and stir until sauce is thick. Stir in the Swiss cheese and season with hot sauce and salt. Stir in up to 1 cup of the chopped asparagus pieces.
5. Whip egg whites and fold into the sauce, then spoon carefully into the prepared ramekins. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan on top. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes or until risen, tops are light golden brown and center is still just slightly soft. Serve immediately.