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Author Notes: I’m drawn to recipes that are versatile, easy to prepare, can be made ahead, can stand alone or be served as an accompaniment to something grander. This one fits the bill. Feel free to use whatever cooked vegetables you like. Fava beans or chopped asparagus would be a nice addition, too. My recipe is adapted from Individual Broccoli Timbales – Molded Custards from the cookbook Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child, truly a gem of a book. —mrslarkin
For the Timbales
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided, room temperature
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
- 1/2 cup frozen baby peas
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
- 2 ounces grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
- white pepper to taste
- Slice artichoke hearts vertically into thirds. In a small sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add garlic, artichoke hearts and peas. Sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt. Sauté for a minute or two. Do not brown. Stir in a pinch of herbs. Set aside to cool.
- Set oven rack to lower-third level of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
- Boil water. You’ll need it in a little while to fill the roasting pan.
- Grease four 3 1/2" ramekins well with butter. Place in the roasting pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the cream, and then fold in all the remaining ingredients. Check for salt, and add a touch more if needed. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins, filling them about 3/4 full.
- Carefully place roasting pan in the oven. Pull out the rack, and pour in boiling water to surround the ramekins, about halfway up their sides. Carefully push the rack back in, and bake 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees F. Bake for an additional 20 - 25 minutes. You want your water to be just barely simmering, so adjust your heat accordingly.
- At this point, make your béchamel. See step 11.
- Check the timbales with a wooden skewer or toothpick. It should come out clean.
- Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and let the ramekins rest for 10 minutes.
- Unmold your ramekins by running a thin, sharp knife around the inside perimeter of the cup, and turn it upside down on a warm serving plate. Give it a second. It should plop right out. Top with herbed béchamel.
For the herbed béchamel
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup hot milk
- white pepper
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoons minced mint, flat-leaf parsley or both
- In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon, until the mixture foams for a couple of minutes. You don’t want it to turn dark.
- Add the hot milk and whisk continuously for a few minutes. Bring to a simmer and continue stirring until mixture has thickened.
- Stir in the Parmigiano and herbs. Check for salt and pepper.
The Key to Okonomiyaki
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