20 April 2009

Asparagus and ham pie

Yesterday Walt made our "traditional" springtime asparagus and ham pie. It's a recipe he came up with two or three years ago, and we have it every April (and May and June). It's cooked asparagus spears wrapped in slices of ham (jambon de Paris or jambon blanc, they call it) and then baked in a pie shell with a layer of egg and cheese custard.

White asparagus peeled and ready to cook in simmering water

The original idea came from a recipe we saw on a CuisineTV show called Fiches Cuisine, hosted by Carinne Teyssandier. Here's a link to that recipe. Teyssandier used Parma ham (a.k.a proscuitto or jambon de Parme) but we tried that once and it was too salty for our taste. So we substituted the Paris-style ham (probably what we call Danish ham in the U.S. would be the same). Use what you like.

Bundles of cooked asparagus spears wrapped in ham

And use green or white asparagus spears. The custard is 2 eggs, half a cup of cream, half a cup of milk, and 2 oz. of grated parmesan cheese blended together and seasoned with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. A green salad dressed with vinaigrette is all you need to make this into a nice lunch for four people. And maybe an appetizer like radishes with butter and salt, some cheese after the pie, and a dessert! Need I mention bread and wine?

The wrapped asparagus bundles in custard (not yet cooked)
poured into a pre-baked pie shell

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you've seen this tart a couple of times now, including here. And here is a link to Walt's recipe with pictures from back in 2007. If you like asparagus, try this. If you don't eat ham, wrap the spears in thin slices of chicken or turkey breast — maybe smoked chicken or turkey. That would be just as good (we've done it). Or you could use no meat at all — just tie up the bundles of cooked asparagus spears with string and cook them the same way. Sprinkle some extra grated cheese on top before baking.

And the Asparagus and Ham Tart as it comes out of the oven

Carinne Teyssandier has a new show on CuisineTV now called Aujourd'hui je cuisine and it just came on the TV here in my "office." She and her co-host, Eric Léautey, are making white asparagus in a radish vinaigrette, green asparagus pan-roasted in the oven and served with shavings of parmesan cheese, and a cream soup made with the trimmings of the asparagus used in the other two recipes. There are a lot of idea for good asparagus meals.

Green asparagus spears ready for the picking

Meanwhile, I cut some green asparagus spears from the patch I've found growing just outside our back gate. I think they might just get roasted in the oven one day soon.


  1. On the recipe side, you are ready to open a "bed and breakfast". This dish reminds me of my mother's dish with steamed belgian endives (bien egouttees), wrapped in jambon de Paris, covered with a bechamel, topped with Swiss cheese.
    In the oven until the cheese is crisp. On a cold day, it is delicious!

  2. roasting would help make them sweeter if they are bitter

  3. Mmmm, that looks like a nice twist on the endives gratinés we usually eat around here.

  4. Nadege, I was going to say that this one reminded me of the post that Ken did back a while ago about that same dish... the Gratin d'endives :)) Ken, back when you were posting about that, I happened to have nothing to eat at home but some ham slices and asparagus, so I made a mix of these two... hand slices with asparagus, but with hollandaise on it. Did I mention that before? It was really good... we had it on multi-grain toast. It was surprising to me how filling it was!


  5. duuh... not "hand" slices! "ham" slices!

    heh heh :)

  6. Just made this recipe for dinner tonight and it was delish thanks for the recipe.

  7. Hi Judy, ham and asparagus with hollandaise sounds really good. I'm not sure I've ever -- and certainly not more than once or twice over the years -- actually made sauce hollandaise. I guess I should -- since mayonnaise is easy, how hard can hollandaise be?

    I think the asparagus pie, with an egg custard, is very different from the gratin d'endives au jambon, which uses a sauce mornay (cheese sauce). That's made with a roux of flour and butter and a lot of grated gruyère or comté cheese. And no crust. No, the gratin d'endives is a winter dish and the asparagus tart is a springtime thing. But both are good, that's certain.

  8. That's brilliant about substituting smoked chicken or turkey. I read the recipe thinking too bad I never got around to making this while we still had pork in the house. Somehow I haven't made the conversion to other smoked fowl/meats. And now that asparagus is in season... yum!



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