Tra Vigne Budine di Pecora con Asparagi
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- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup cream
- 1 cup grated pecorino cheese, plus a little extra for garnish
- 1 cup white bread crumbs from a baguette or Italian bread, crusts removed
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 18 spears small to medium asparagus, tough ends trimmed and stalks peeled
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse sea salt, to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons chopped gaeta or kalamata olives
- For Budino: Heat milk and cream just to simmering point. Add pecorino cheese
and stir over low flame for 4 minutes. Remove and strain through a fine metal sieve.
Discard the cheese solids and save the strained cream liquid. Add the bread crumbs
to the warm cream liquid; set aside to allow the crumbs to soften in the cream for
- Heat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Pour the cream mixture, salt and pepper into the egg yolks and gently whisk until
thoroughly incorporated. Pour mixture into 6 well greased ramekins or small custard
molds; set ramekins into a water bath and bake in oven for 1 hour or until a wooden
pick inserted into centers comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let rest for 10
minutes. (The resting is not imperative, but helps in unmolding the Budine.)
- Blanch the asparagus briefly in boiling water. Drain asparagus; place in a bowl;
toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil and coarse salt to taste.
- Grill over hot coals
for 2 minutes to just singe the asparagus on one side. Place 3 spears on each of
6 warmed plates.
- Run a wooden pick pick or thin knife around outside edges of each ramekin to
loosen custard; unmold each on a plate beside asparagus.
- Garnish with a little more
extra-virgin olive oil, chopped olives, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle
of grated pecorino cheese.
Yield: 6 servings
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