A perfect elegant yet simple dinner starter or light summer supper served with crusty French baguettes to mop up the most silky creamy parmesan sauce.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F/160°C fan/Gas 4. Prepare 4 ramekin oven dishes by greasing them well with softened butter.
Snap the asparagus spears 2/3rds of the way down, where they break naturally. Peel them as close as possible to the spear heads then cut the spears into 3.
Fill a large pan with water and bring to a rolling boil. Add a generous heaped teaspoon of salt to the cooking water. Prepare a large bowl of (preferably iced) cold water.
Cook the asparagus for 3 minutes (no more than 4 minutes!) then remove with a slotted spoon and immediately transfer to the cold water to stop the cooking process.
When cool, drain the asparagus, setting aside 4 spears for the decor and 4 for the ramekins. Place the others in a food processor and mix to a purée with the cream.
Prepare the clafoutis batter: beat the eggs, yolks, flour, grated parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Mix in the creamy asparagus mixture then pour the batter into the individual buttered ramekin dishes, placing a third of a spear in each. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly for 5-10 minutes, then using a sharp knife, cut around the edges to remove and place directly on the serving plates.
Bring the cream to the boil, adding some salt, pepper and a pinch of ground nutmeg. Add the parmesan then beat together well until smooth with a balloon whisk. Serve immediately around each clafoutis.
Keep back one asparagus spear per person for the decor.
If making the clafoutis with white asparagus, add lemon zest. There's no need for the parmesan sauce - just serve with a dash of olive oil and lemon juice.
For the green asparagus clafoutis, serve with the parmesan sauce. I used 4 ramekin dishes but muffin moulds also work well, including briochette silicone moulds (this recipe makes 6 if using briochette moulds).
Wine Suggestions: Serve with a rich, aromatic white wine - such as a Chardonnay, Voignier, a Pinot Blanc from Alsace, or white Rioja.