Friday, January 21, 2011

Open-face Asparagus and Camembert Sandwich

The key to this recipe is using fresh Camembert; older cheese will be too strong.


•1 pound plump asparagus spears, tough ends snapped off

•2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

•Fleur de sel (or sea salt) and freshly ground black pepper

•6 ounces camembert cheese

•2 tablespoons butter

•4 large 3/4-inch-thick slices light-textured bread such as challah


Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and boil until they are bright green and just tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and plunge the asparagus into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain, pat dry, and toss with the oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper; set aside. Adjust oven rack so that it is 6 inches below the broiler element. Use a sharp knife to cut the cheese (rind and all) into 1/2-inch-thick slices. In a large ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the bread slices and season them with salt and pepper. Fry until golden brown on one side. Reduce heat to medium, and fry the bread on the second side, moving it around in the pan to soak up the remaining butter, and cook until golden brown, 1 minute more. Divide the asparagus among the 4 bread slices, followed by the sliced cheese. Place under broiler and cook until the cheese has melted and the edges of the bread are crisp and browned, about 2 minutes.

Makes 2 servings

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