Later on this afternoon, we are going to bottle our wine that we made a few months ago. Let’s Make Wine Of course we we will be sampling as we bottle, because that’s half the fun, right?! And we will need munchies since after all, we can’t bottle AND drink wine all on an empty stomach. We almost always bring munchies with us even we are just tasting, but now we will be “working” too, so I made something a little extra special for today, to keep our strength up and to help us get through our arduous bottling task. I made some asparagus cheese balls, or as they are known in French, gougeres, to enjoy while we are bottling our wine. To the French, gougeres are a favorite appetizer to pair with wines, especially white wines (although this time we made a batch of red). The French people know both wine and food better than anyone else, so I thought it was a good idea to follow their advice.
Asparagus Cheese Puffs or Gougeres
1/2 lb asparagus, cut into very small pieces, about 1/4 in size
5 TBSP butter
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
3 large eggs
1 cup shredded pecorino cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano cheese
Preheat the oven to 400* F
Boil water to a rapid boil and add the cut asparagus. Let boil for 1 minute, then drain the asparagus and set aside.
Mix the flour, salt and cayenne pepper together and set aside.
Add the milk and the butter to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off and add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and forms into a ball.
If you have ever made a pate a choux, or eclairs, you are looking for the same consistency. Transfer the mixture to a mixer and add 1 egg at a time, mixing thoroughly after each egg.
Once everything is all combined, let it cool and set for about ten minutes. Then add both the asparagus and the cheese and mix everything together, combining well. Spray mini muffin pans with cooking oil and drop about 1 TBSP of the mixture into each muffin cup.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until the puffs are golden brown and light and fluffy. Serve either warm or immediately after removing them from the oven. Bon Appetit!