Clafoutis are usually a sweet custard dessert with cherries or other fruit. However, they have a savory side, too. Light, fluffy and creamy, it’s an excellent host for vegetables.
Today my recipe uses blanched asparagus and cherry tomatoes, but feel free to use whichever vegetables you like. If you choose a watery vegetable like zucchini, you may want to pre-cook it to reduce the water content.
How is a clafoutis different than quiche, you may ask? A clafoutis is crustless and the egg custard batter has flour in it. A quiche has a crust, and the egg custard (without flour) is much denser because it contains a lot more cheese.
Arliano Update (Aggiornamento Arliano):
We are now more than a month into renovations with the jack hammering (mostly) done. The serious plumbing and electrical wiring stage is happening this week. It’s amazing to see what lies beneath and behind floors and walls to make a modern house function. Next up is filing in all the trenches that the workers excavated followed by leveling the floors before the tiles may be laid.
Speaking of which, I discovered that my Italian language capabilities improve when I’m angry and don’t have too much time to think. Occasionally we’ll get a delivery truck driver who refuses or really, REALLY, doesn’t want to drive down our little dirt road to reach our house off the main road. This just happened with the arrival of our first batch of tiles for the living room and one of the bathrooms. It wasn’t the Will Smith slap seen across the world, but let’s just say that I had words with the driver because I REALLY, REALLY, wanted our tiles. Prior to the delivery driver’s arrival, Tom and I had even gotten up on a ladder to trim away any excuses (aka tree branches) that were protruding into the road. And since I more loudly spoke “really” in all capital letters, I won, and the tiles were delivered.
In gardening news, I have now dug out and removed nine randomly placed shrubs throughout the yard. It must have a been a generational trend because I have a friend in France who experienced the same thing from the previous owner of the same age group. Shrub X was planted on top of shrub Y, on top of shrub Z. Not only in one instance, but all over the yard. It made no sense whatsoever, so my latest mission has been to make some order out of the chaos. The same goes for randomly planted daffodils, now dug up and placed in a nice pattern near an ex-Madonna, now a Buddha shrine — not that I’m Buddhist; it’s an esthetic choice.
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The Savory Side of Clafoutis: Asparagus and Cherry Tomato
- 1 pound (16 ounces) asparagus (choose thicker stems)
- 8 – 10 cherry tomatoes
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (177 ml) whole milk
- 3/4 cup (185 g) sour cream, crème fraiche, or plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup (65 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (45 g) grated Parmesan or Grana Padana cheese
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, or fresh thyme leaves (or, a few torn basil leaves)
- Kosher or sea salt, and ground black pepper to taste
- Butter for the dish
- Pre-heat oven to 375F (190C)
- Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) square baking dish. Set aside
- Trim the woody ends from the asparagus and discard the ends. Bring a large pot with approximately 4 quarts of water to a boil and boil the asparagus for 3 minutes
- While the asparagus is boiling, prepare a large bowl with ice water. Place the asparagus into the bowl with ice water and let them rest for several minutes. Remove the asparagus and pat them dry with a clean dish towel
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place them along with the asparagus spears at the bottom of the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle them with the grated cheese
- Make the clafoutis batter by combining the eggs, milk, sour cream/crème fraiche/Greek yogurt, flour, garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs in a large bowl. Use a whisk or electric beaters to mix the batter well, leaving no lumps. Alternatively, you can use a blender, but if you do, leave out the herbs. They may be mixed in by hand
- Gently pour the batter over the asparagus and tomatoes and bake for 40 – 45 minutes. Halfway through the baking process, check to see if the clafoutis is browning. If so, cover it with foil. The custard from the clafouti should be just set, not liquidy or too firm