Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Asparagus Pie - A Savory Green Take on Sweet Cherry Clafouti

It's not often a dessert recipe inspires a savory dish; it's usually the other way around, but this asparagus pie is a direct result of my love for cherry clafouti.

clafouti is a rustic French dessert that features whole cherries baked in a sweet egg batter. If you'd like, you can check out the clafouti video recipe I did last spring.

I've always thought the same batter, minus most of the sugar, would make a great base for a vegetable dish. Since I had a bunch of beautiful asparagus sitting on my cutting board, I decided to test my idea.

It came together almost exactly as I had imagined. I love it when that happens. The simple batter formed a delicious, creamy, lightly browned crust around the buttery asparagus. The flavor was pure, the texture luxurious. Enjoy!

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tbsp butter, plus extra for the casserole dish
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp sugar
1 1/4 cup milk
3 large eggs
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
3/4 tsp salt
pinch of fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp lemon zest


Anonymous said...

Looks great! Would some cheese go well in this recipe somewhere? If so, how would you do that? Keep up the fantastic work!

Chef John said...

sure, throw a 1/2 cup of whatever in the batter.

Anonymous said...

I'm making this today and I think I'll put in some mushrooms.

Chef John said...

sounds good, but make sure they are well cooked and drained.

Anonymous said...

looks good ill give it a try. Could you demo steak pizziaola some time?

LLnL said...

Never heard of such a thing but it looks delicious.

seryph07 said...

Chef John, you're so creative!
I never would've though of this. The farmer's market is opening here soon, and there's going to be asparagus aplenty, so I'll definitely have to snag some and try this recipe.

Pyrofish said...

Before your I saw you cherry clafoutis last year, I was researching the topic in order to make one of my own. In that research, I read that it's very common for clafoutis to be savory in France. I just never did anything with that info. This looks delicious!

I thought the same thing about the cheese. Maybe it was those luscious brown edges. Stooopid diet... soon... I've 20 lbs this month... soon...

Anonymous said...

I love cooking videos, and have been searching for a long time to find some good sites. Your videos are done so well, that I look forward to night, when I can relax in my bed with the laptop and watch you cook! I would like to say thanks for all the work you do to entertain me and probably millions more like me who love cooking. Your videos are really top notch!


Anonymous said...

You are genius! I've made your cherry clafouti quite a few times and it is always a hit, so I am excited to try this too.

Anonymous said...

Even though this recipe seems like a perfectly good method to serve up some delicious asparagus I prefer to eat the ones I grow myself raw, so absolutely delicious, however I only get about 12 of them PER YEAR.

Kim - Easy French Food said...

Chef John,

I've been lurking on your site for months now. Your videos are excellent and you are an exceptional teacher. You make things seem so simple, and you add just the right amount of whimsy to keep me coming back for more.

Creative French home cooks have taken the clafoutis template and ran with it - just saw a recipe for one with cranberries, basil and goat cheese. They do the same with the classic French apple tart - Tarte Tatin - transforming it into hundreds of different savory dishes.

Oh well, really just wanted to let know you have another happy viewer out there.

Sheldon said...

I love john's recipes; they are all simple and leaves room for someone like me to go crazy and experiment. :P
So here is my take on this recipie:
1) cut some mushrooms and fried it till all the water dried out
2) added onions and garlic and fried it up
3) added tomatoes later and then the asparagus and some peas and fried them till they were all half cooked
4) with the media going all swine flu crazy I decided to buy some bacon, fried it and removed the fat.
5) I then did the remaining bit of the flour + eggs + milk
6) I then added some mozzarella cheese
7) waited for 45 mins to bake
what came out was pure heaven... I wouldn't recommend doing this if you are trying to loose weight but once in a while it is good to let loose :)
Thanks again John, I loved it :)

Chef John said...

post a picture on the fan site!! sounds great!!

Anonymous said...

Made this for appetizers last night. It was terrific as written. However I may try baking it in smaller pans, say mini muffins, as it didn't cut cleanly for small bites. Of course I would have to cut the asparagus smaller.

Thanks for another great recipe. When I ever get on Facebook I will review over there.
Luisa Vacaville

Vincent said...

I did a quick variation of this--I had some left over canned asparagus (I know, I'd rather use fresh too) that I wasn't sure what to do with because it amounted to maybe a half a cup.

I reduced this recipe and cooked it in a few 1-cup ceramic ramekins in a baine marie. Also threw in some sauteed shallots in olive oil (the shallots were sauteed with my dried thyme and red pepper flakes, instead of adding the spices directly to the batter). It tasted great, though it didn't puff up for some reason.

oneshotbeyond said...

this dish looks like it would make me a very happy lady! YUM!

britishgreenworm said...

Just made it and it was pretty good! Although it tastes very "eggish". What would happen if I added more flower and less egg? Looking for more of a bread texture (if that makes any sense).

Vena Cava said...

oh wow this looks like something my english teacher made for us! im definately going to try this recipe out, except change the esparagus to spinach and bacon :D

btw im an absolute fan of your blog!

Chef John said...


mahtay said...

How about some par boiled potatoes instead, slice it when cold and pan fry them like spanish tortilla or patatas bravas?

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vanessa said...

It's a good recipe!! I'm french and I love cooked, I'm looking for new and international recipes. In France we cook a lot of clafoutis, "quiches lorraine", french cake and omelette like bases and we mix a lot of vegetables, meats or fruits.
I'm happy to try your blog to test another recipes. Thanks
Vanessa, from France

Anonymous said...

Yum! Am glad to have stumbled upon this at I just popped my first asparagus pie into the oven - looking forward to it! Thanks very much for the video - very easy to follow.

sugarhead88 said...

Chef John,

YOU'RE THE BEST! You're site is my number one go to blog for new recipes. This was another excellent recipe. I just tried it out with my husband and our friends, it was great! Refreshingly new and Greg for spring. Thanks Chef John!


sugarhead88 said...

Chef John, YOU'RE THE BEST! Your site is my #1 go-to-blog for new recipes. And this asparagus was certainly new! I just made this for my picky husband and our friends. Very refreshing, delicious, and great for spring. Thanks chef John!!!

sugarhead88 said...

Chef John,

YOU'RE THE BEST! You're site is my number one go to blog for new recipes. This was another excellent recipe. I just tried it out with my husband and our friends, it was great! Refreshingly new and Greg for spring. Thanks Chef John!


sugarhead88 said...

Chef John,

YOU'RE THE BEST! You're site is my number one go to blog for new recipes. This was another excellent recipe. I just tried it out with my husband and our friends, it was great! Refreshingly new and Greg for spring. Thanks Chef John!


erika greenfield said...

I need to feed 10 people at a dinner party...should I increase the recipe for asparagus pie by 1/3, or more?

Chef John said...

You'd need at least 2 of these! I'd double.

famousthecat said...

You inspired me - this is currently baking in the oven! I love how simple this recipe is. I bought asparagus at the store today (because it's SPRING, duh), and everything else, we already have.

Marianne Bush said...

Chef John. I just made it today and it has great potential. The original recipe needs a bit of spicing up, though. I always follow a recipe the first time I try it out. After that, all bets are off ;-)

memart said...

Tonight! I have some extra sharp cheddar I'm throwing in. I LOVE your blog. I"m totally tired of other sites wanting you to pay for access to recipes after a short while. I LOVE the videos too! I think separating the filming and talking is a marvelous idea, you make it sound easy AND you are funny! I also looked at your catsup recipe, it's tempting. How long will it last?

Ken said...

Thanks Chef John!

I made this 3x since seeing the reposting. Using a silicone cake form helps it slide right out onto a plate -but let it cool first. I also thought the pie could use a little more flavor, so I added a teaspoon of Knorr vegetable base (goop) to the asparagus while they fried so that the goop melted. I also changed the zest to orange the second time and added a tsp of ground caraway seed and it turned out so good!!

There also seems to be a lot of potential with making a workaday version of this with frozen mixed veggies and substituting part yogurt for the milk.