A Swiss dish? No, it is not, but we use Swiss Gruyere for it, it is just simply the best, but of course you can use any other cheese, being it Cheddar, Blue Cheese, Parmesan or rather a mild Edam, it really doesn't matter because this dish is just beautiful in itself.
We serve it here with green Asparagus and a burnt Anchovy butter, it really compliments the dish.
Again, like most of my dishes, you can nicely do them in advance and then just heat up again for a little while, that makes the dinner party so much more enjoyable. This dish is strictly speaking vegetarian, but then I add the Anchovy Butter, that can just be replaced with a caper butter and we are all perfect. I like to do vegetarian dishes that are as similar to the other dishes at the table, I want that everybody feel just happy and comfortable
But now to the recipe
300 ml cream
300 ml milk
1 cup / 250 grams grated Gruyere cheese
6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter to grease the ramekins
50 grams Spanish anchovies, oil drained
1 garlic clove
125 grams butter, softened
1 tablespoon of picked thyme leaves
1 lemon, juice only
3 bunches asparagus, wooden stems cut
Set a bain-marie over gently boiling water. In the bowl the cream, milk and parmesan and mix cooking until the parmesan has dissolved. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate to cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 120°C.
Have 12 small ramekins that will each fit 100ml of liquid ready and greased with the soft butter or an oil spray. Set them in a deep roasting tray.
Heat up milk and cream, add cheese and let it melt, stir constantly.
Mix the egg yolks with the Gruyere cream. Add a touch of white pepper and mix well. Ladle into the ramekins mixing at all times to ensure the Gruyere is balanced in every ramekin.
Boil a full kettle of water. Set the roasting tray in the oven shelf and pour enough water to half way up the side of the ramekins, cover the whole dish with aluminum paper and cook for 45 minutes or until the custard has set. Remove form the oven and cool them in their dishes.
Melt the butter in a large clean frying pan until it foams. Keep mixing the pan to avoid the butter burning in the warm spot. When the butter stops foaming keep a good eye for it to reach a golden color and then add the chopped anchovy and Garlic and mix with a whisk to incorporate. Quickly add the thyme and lemon juice and pour the butter in a small casserole to avoid it burning as the butter will continue cooking in the hot pan.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and plunge the asparagus in it. In the meantime keep the custard warm in the oven with twelve plates.
When the asparagus are cooked but still slightly crunchy drain them. Set the warm plates on a bench; turn the Gruyere custard on each of them by carefully inserting a small knife on the side of each custard to liberate them. Garnish with the warm asparagus