Ham wrapped Asparagus with cheese sauce
I often make this dish with baby leeks, but it works so well with asparagus – and it's much easier to cut! Makes a great starter.
- 16 nice fat asparagus spears
- 16 thin slices of ham (most packet ham works well)
- 150g mature cheddar cheese, grated
- 1½ pints milk
- 50g butter
- 50g plain flour
- Make the cheese sauce; melt the butter in a non-stick pan, add the flour and cook gently for a little while before adding the milk, a little at a time, mixing it in to form first a smooth paste and then, as you slowly add more milk, a smooth sauce the consistency of custard.
- Mix in most of the cheese and leave on a low setting/put to one side while you lightly steam the asparagus – it should be quite al dente, so literally 2-3 mins).
- Cool and wrap each spear in a slice of ham. Place in an oven-proof dish and pour over the cheese sauce.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake for 15-20 minutes in a moderate oven. If the cheese on top isn't bubbling when you take it out of the oven, place it under a grill for a few minutes before serving.
- recipes Jo Arnell
- pictures David Merewether