Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Asparagus Timbale

Back when I was just a baby--we're talking newly a teen--I worked at my friend's mother's restaurant, a gorgeous, classy, French restaurant, and that's where I fell in love with working in restaurants. That sounds like a weird thing to say, but it was outrageously adult and mysterious for a fourteen-year-old who was already bored with her surroundings. And to this day, when I walk into a restaurant from the kitchen entrance, I'm sort of transformed by the smell and look of it. It's totally different from eating at a restaurant, which I'm also fond of, but in an entirely different way. I've met a good deal of my closest friends working at restaurants. You are thrown in an intimate and pressured setting to perform art. It's theater! It's dance! It's not always pretty, but there can be some great times.

The restaurant was filled with interesting people, like Dawn, one of the cooks, who one day asked us to run to Soundtracks and pick up the new Loverboy album for her. I mean, she was cooking fine French food and went out late and rocked to Loverboy! Mind-boggling! Or Jerry, who taught me what a gimlet was. Of course, there were also new foods that blew my mind like Couer a la Creme and Asparagus Timbale. After purchasing some big and sturdy local asparagus, I decided to revisit the timbale.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a glass pan--I used a 6 cup Pyrex dish.

2 1/2 cups of asparagus (cooked), onion (1 small), parsley (handful) chopped well in processor
4 T cream
2 ounces chevre
3 eggs
1/4 grated Parmesan
salt and pepper

Mix all well. Pour into pan. Put pan in a water bath. The bath should be level with the timbale. Bake about 40 minutes or so, until set nicely. You should cover the timbale with a greased piece of parchment paper. This recipe also works well with leftover pureed soups. Bread crumbs can be added to give more shape.

The timbale was so easy and perfect for asparagus that might not be so tender. I should have had a gimlet to complete the memory, but had a glass of wine instead. During the day, exasperated with the Lily of Valley taking over the front beds, I pulled a bunch, and stuck them in a bowl. They've been perfuming the living room ever since. A nuisance turned into something that's been making me happy all week!

We had the timbale with another perfect garden salad, and grilled turkey that I marinated with kimchi brine---a wonderful tip gleaned from Peter's cookblog at Qui Si Mangia Bene, who always has great things going on, whether it's his original artistic cooking, or sharp witty writing, or beautiful baking. I say gleaned because you can't just visit and run away with a tip. You've got to work for it a little, but it's always worth it.

Working in a restaurant, working for the weekend, working for a tip. There are some good things about work, you know?


  1. That looks so good. I never get past roasting my asparagus. That looks rockin'. Must try.

    My asparagus beds are in their first year of being able to harvest some...unfortunately it is now time to "let them go" for this year. Farmers market abundance though.

    On another note- I made the rhubarb booze last night. And rhubarb-strawberry booze.

  2. I want to stick my face in asparagus timbale

  3. What a great "restauranty" tip for at home cooks... looks very satisfying! I love anything that can use up leftovers in such an arty way, as well!

  4. Meg - So easy! You know, I still haven't planted asparagus and I'm paying for it dearly. What's up with that?

    Rhuberry booze! Deal me in! Did you just add strawberries?

    JohnA - You would, wouldn't you! Thanks!

    RCakewalk - I am all about using everything, and making sure it tastes good too!

  5. this looks heavenly. i really want to make it. maybe this weekend once i hit up the first farmer's market of the season! this is the first year i can harvest asparagus also, planted it 3 years ago. but i think i have one more year to go before i can harvest in abundance.

    i love how your meals are embracing the season!

  6. Tigress - You are a planner, aren't you! Good work on be patient for your asparagus. I am so embracing spring and its goodies. It thrills me to no end.

  7. I just got back from a week in the city. Thanks for the link; isn't kimchi brine like found money? It makes a phenomenal gravy, too, mixed with chicken stock. Your pictures are looking great. Daylight is wonderful.

    Btw, I'll happily relieve you of extra lilies.

  8. Peter - I have a good little collection of pickle brines in the fridge door, it made utter sense to add the kimchi brine. And gravy? Woulda never thunk. But I'm sure it's great.

    And thanks on the photos; my kitchen is dreadfully dark, but yes, the lighting these days pours into the porch and makes things better.

    Lastly, I would be more than glad to give you a big flat of lily of the valley. Were you serious?

  9. Sure. Absolutely. I have a shady spot near the front door that's nothing but jewel weed right now.

  10. Peter - We'll have to meet up at a market or something! Kingston starts soon. Once they stop flowering I can pull up a bunch for you.