March 18, 2002 - Celebrate the upcoming Transfer Day holiday on March 31 with a dish that dates back to the days when the Virgin Islands was known as the Danish West Indies.
Asparagus surely doesn't grow in the Virgin Islands, and the first forms of this recipe made in the islands used the canned variety. A member of the lily family, asparagus is harvested in the U.S. mainland from February through June, so you'll see fresh bunches now at the supermarket.
When buying fresh asparagus, choose firm, bright green or pale ivory stalks with tight tips. This vegetable tends to be expensive, so choosing carefully is important, so as not to have to cut off too much of the woody stems. The hardening of the stems opposite the tip end occurs in old asparagus.
The recipe here is equally tasty made with canned or frozen asparagus.
Nutritionally, asparagus contains a good amount of vitamin A and is a fair source of iron and vitamins B and C.
This recipe is one given to me by the late Gertrude Melchior, a wonderful cook and teacher. I treasure the time I had to talk and learn from her about Virgin Islands cuisine.
Danish-Style Asparagus Pudding
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups milk
5 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
Black pepper, to taste
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces (or equivalent quantity canned or frozen)
Make a white sauce with the flour, butter and milk. Cool, then add egg yolks, stirring well. Flavor with salt, sugar and black pepper to taste. Beat egg whites until stiff, then fold into white sauce. In a greased baking dish, place alternate layers of sauce and asparagus. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until mixture is firm.
Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 270 calories, 19 gms fat (62 percent fat calories), 184 mg cholesterol, 406 mg sodium.