16 Nice Fat Asparagus Spears

16 Thin Slices of Ham

150g Mature Cheddar Cheese, grated

750ml Milk

50g Plain Flour

50g Butter

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. Cool and wrap each spear in a slice of ham.
  4. Place in an oven-proof dish and pour over the cheese sauce.
  5. 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.

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether

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