A perfect elegant yet simple dinner starter or light summer lunch. Serve with a crusty baguette to mop up the most silky creamy parmesan sauce. The sauce quantity is good for individual portions but if making this as one big family size, I'd double the sauce quantity.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F/160°C fan/Gas 4. Prepare 4 ramekin oven dishes (or 6 muffin moulds) by greasing them well with softened butter.
Snap the asparagus spears about 1/4 off the bottom, where they break naturally. Peel or scrape 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 if they're more chunky). Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately transfer to the cold water to stop the cooking process.
Prepare the clafoutis batter: beat the eggs, yolks, grated parmesan, flour and season with salt and pepper.
Drain the asparagus, setting aside a spear top per person for the decor and one spear top each for the clafoutis. Place the rest of the asparagus in a food processor and mix to a purée with some of the batter.
Stir in the puréed asparagus to the rest of the batter. Pour into the individual buttered ramekin dishes/muffin moulds, placing a spear top in each. Alternatively, pour into one buttered ovenproof dish, throwing in the rest of the spears. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes (35 mins for a large clafoutis).
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes, then using a sharp knife, release the clafoutis from around the edges 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.
Decorate with an asparagus spear, a basil top or edible flowers. Also delicious with smoked salmon. Serve with a crusty French baguette.
I used 4 ramekin dishes but regular muffin moulds also work well, including briochette silicone moulds (makes 6 generous portions).
Wine Suggestions: Serve with a fruity white wine - such as a Voignier (Condrieu a real treat!), a dry Muscat or Riesling from Alsace, or Chenin from the Loire (Savennières).