[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

Asparagus forced in French Role
19 May 2011

The Culinary Historians of New York are hosting a talk on June 16 by Marc Meltonville on "Reconstructing Historic Royal Kitchens," a topic on which Marc is well qualified to speak, since he runs the project coordination of the kitchens for the Historic Royal Palaces, including Hampton Court. CHNY likes to provide some light refreshment for the events, prepared by members and tied to the theme of the talk. Marc will be talking about Tudor kitchens at Hampton Court and the restoration of the kitchens of King George III at Kew.

Which means, of course, I'm looking at Tudor (or, at least, late Medieval) and Georgian recipes, starting with a look at The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy by Hannah Glasse, first published in 1747. The following recipe looked like it might be fun.

[Stuffed asparagus roll] Asparagus Forced in French Role
Take three French roles, take out all the Crumb, by first cutting a Piece of the Top-crust off; but be careful that the Crust fits again the same Place. Fry the Roles brown in fresh Butter, then take a Pint of Cream, the Yolk of six Eggs beat fine, a little Salt and Nutmeg, stir them together over a low Fire, till it begins to be thick. Have ready a hundred of small Grass boiled, then save Tops enough to stick the Roles with; the rest, cut small and put into the Cream, fill the Loaves with them. Before the fry the Roles, make Holes thick in the Top-crust to stick the Grass in; then lay on the Piece of Crust, and stick the Grass in, that it may look as if it was growing. It makes a pretty Side-dish at a second Course.

Being used to medieval recipes, this one was a doddle to adapt for modern use.

Asparagus Stuffed French Rolls

Cut the tops off the rolls and remove the interior. Poke a hole in the top of each lid. Heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and lightly fry the rolls top and bottom, as well as the lids.

Cut the asparagus into small pieces, perhaps 1/4 to a 1/2 inch long, except for the very tops - leave those longer, about an inch. Place in a pot, just cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for about two minutes, then remove from the heat and drain.

[Roll Pre-cooking] Beat the egg yolks, add the cream, salt and nutmeg and put in a pot over low heat. Bring just up to a gentle simmer, then remove from the heat, stir in the asparagus (except for six of the tops) and load into the hollowed-out rolls. Put on a cookie sheet and stick in a pre-heated 350F oven for 20 minutes. Stick your reserved asparagus tops into the tops of the rolls. When the rolls come out of the oven stick the tops back on and serve. Good warm or cold.

The recipe calls for the rolls to be fried after being filled, but given the direct heat of modern stoves, this is difficult to do without burning the rolls, so I opted to bake them instead.

I can only think the asparagus available to Mrs. Glasse must have been very small indeed if she needed a hundred of them to go with a pint of milk and six egg yolks.

For variety, you could do the much the same process with a baguette or other long narrow loaf. After it cooled, you could slice it for serving, although not too thinly lest the asparagus fall out.

© 2011 Jeff Berry
The Aspiring Luddite