Asparagus Flan with Smoked SalmonPotato Salad



  1. 1 pound asparagus, trimmed of woody stem ends and coarsely chopped, reserving unchopped 1-inch tips to garnish the flans or add to the salad
  2. 1 tablespoon butter, plus more for greasing ramekins
  3. 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
  4. 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  5. 1 cup milk, plus more if needed
  6. 3 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg
  7. Salt and pepper
  8. Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  9. 23 medium potatoes, such as Yukon gold, peeled and diced (about 1 large cup)
  10. Salt
  11. 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
  12. 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  13. 6 tablespoons olive oil
  14. 3 tablespoons finely chopped celery
  15. 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  16. 1/4 cup Classic Croutons (p. 88)
  17. 3/4 cup diced smoked salmon or gravlax
  18. Freshly ground pepper
  19. 2 slices bacon, fried until very crisp, crumbled (about 23 tablespoons), optional
  20. Asparagus tips, for garnish
  21. (makes 4 servings)


  1. Blanch only the asparagus tips in a small saucepan of boiling salted water for 23 minutes, drain, and shock in ice water to stop the cooking process.
  2. Drain again and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat and add the shallots.
  4. Saute for 2 minutes, until softened, then add the chopped asparagus stalks, cream, and milk and simmer gently over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the asparagus pieces are quite tender.
  5. Remove them from the heat and cool about 10 minutes, then pour the mixture into a blender (in batches if necessary) and puree until smooth.
  6. Strain the asparagus cream through a fine sieve.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and whole egg together until well mixed and just barely frothy.
  8. Slowly whisk in the asparagus cream and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  9. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  10. Butter 4 individual ramekins (with sides about 2 inches high) and place them in a baking dish.
  11. Pour the asparagus mixture into the dishes, dividing equally.
  12. Carefully fill the baking dish with hot water until it comes halfway up the ramekins.
  13. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the water bath for about 30 minutes.
  14. Watching for steam, carefully open the foil and jiggle the pan to see if the flans are set.
  15. They should be firm around the outside but just barely set in the middle, with no bubbles.
  16. If they are still liquid in the middle, return to the oven and bake for another 510 minutes.
  17. Remove the flans from the oven, uncover, and set aside until ready to serve.
  18. These flans can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance, refrigerated, and gently reheated in a water bath.
  19. Put the potatoes in a small pot, cover with cold water, add a sprinkling of salt, and bring to a boil.
  20. Reduce the heat and simmer until cooked through but still firm, about 5 minutes.
  21. Drain and cool.
  22. Whisk the shallots, vinegar, and olive oil together in a small bowl.
  23. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, celery, onion, croutons, and salmon.
  24. Stir in half the dressing, season with salt and pepper, toss, and add more dressing to desired taste.
  25. Add the bacon and toss again.
  26. To serve, divide the salad among four plates.
  27. Place one warm flan on each plate.
  28. Place two asparagus tips on top of each flan and add the rest to the salad.
  29. This recipe will result in a pale green flan.
  30. To brighten the color, you can add 1/4 cup blanched, finely chopped spinach or 2 tablespoons fresh parsley to the cream the minute before you remove it from the heat.
  31. Proceed to blend the mixture as described above, and the result will be a delightful emerald green flan.