1 1/2 – 2 lbs asparagus, ends trimmed and stalks peeled if desired
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups cream (you may substitute milk but if using non fat add another egg)
1/3 cup grated fontina cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons finely chopped chives
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350
Cut off the tips of the asparagus and then halve lengthwise. Cut stalks into I inch pieces. Steam asparagus tips, covered over boiling water until just tender but still crisp – about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon remove tips to a colander and rinse under cold water. Drain and pat dry on paper towels. Steam asparagus stalks covered over boiling water until tender but still bright, about 6-8 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain on paper towels.
Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add onion and red pepper and sauté until fragrant and tender crisp. Set aside.
Puree asparagus stalks, cream, fontina and Parmesan cheese, chives, tarragon, lemon zest and Dijon mustard. In a large bowl whisk eggs until combined and frothy. Pour in the asparagus puree, whisking until smooth. Stir in the onion and red pepper and season with salt and pepper.
Grease or spray with vegetable spray an 8 inch round cake pan or 8 individual ramekins. (As an extra precaution against sticking line the bottom with greased wax paper.)
Pour mixture into cake pan or ramekins and arrange asparagus tips on top. Place pan or ramekins in a large baking pan and fill baking pan with hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan or ramekins. Bake uncovered until flan is set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The whole flan will take about 50-60 minutes while the individual ramekins will take about 30-40 minutes.