Asparagus Cheese Puffs

1/2 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
3/4 cup whole milk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 large eggs
1 cup grated Manchego or Pecorino cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Line 2 baking sheets with buttered parchment paper.

Cut the asparagus into 1/4-inch pieces. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil and add the asparagus, cooking for 1 minute or until just tender. Drain immediately and reserve.

Whisk together the salt, flour and cayenne until thoroughly blended.

In another saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter than add the milk, stir and bring to a boil.  As soon as the milk comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat and add the flour mixture all at once. With a wooden spoon, beat the dough until it thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating each until egg is completely incorporated. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Add the asparagus and cheeses to the dough and mix together. Spoon rounded teaspoons of the dough onto the baking sheet at 1-inch intervals.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Makes about 36 puffs.


Adapted from the Wine Country Cookbook