Monday, October 3, 2011

Asparagus and Cheese Roulade

I should confess that when we are expecting guests at our house, I pretty often start trying new things in a kitchen instead of sticking to old, time-tested recipes (which, no wonder, end in additional stress for me on those days). I try hard to get rid of this bad habit, I really do. And I know exactly where my problem comes from – I just hate cooking the dish (even if it’s ultimately delicious) for the same people twice. It’s like a strict no-no for me when it comes to formal dinner parties. Thus, I figured out, in order to be more organized  and disciplined on such days in the kitchen, I have to try the recipes of “special occasion dishes” long before those special occasions come up.

This week as I got my bunch of asparagus from the shop and wondered what I should do with it, my inner voice had an immediate answer: “The usual stuff – side for a savory breakfast or a garnish for a fish dish”. But then the reasonable part of me (the one that struggles with the above mentioned bad habit) reminded me of a spectacular picture of an asparagus roulade that I had once seen in a Russian cooking magazine and forced me into giving this dish a try. Well, it turned out to be much easier to do than I anticipated and as delicious as I expected (seriously, how can asparagus and cheese taste bad?) so I certainly added the recipe to my repertoire of fancy dishes.

Recipe adapted from “School of gastronome” magazine


2 eggs, separated
25 gm butter
30 gm plain flour
115 ml warm milk
15 gm parmesan, grated
50 gm ricotta
50 gm semi-hard cheese, grated
50 gm cream cheese, softened
7 asparagus spears, blanched
a few basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C.
  2. Heat butter in a pan till its melted, add flour and cook for a few minutes, stirring. Remove from heat, gradually stir in the milk. Add egg yolks, one at a time.
  3. Beat the egg whites till picks are formed; gently fold them into the yolk mixture together with the shredded basil.
  4. Spread the prepared batter on a greased baking paper in a thin layer (you will get a rectangular approximately 20x12 cm in size),  sprinkle with parmesan and bake for 15 min. Remove from the oven, carefully invert on a kitchen paper (parmesan crusted side down), roll loosely and allow to cool completely.
  5. For the filling, combine all the cheeses, season with salt and pepper.
  6. Unroll the base of the roulade, discard the kitchen paper, spread the cheese filling and put asparagus spears in regular intervals. Roll again, then roll the roulade in a cling film tightly and put in the fridge for a few hours before cutting it.


  1. The proportion of cheeses in the filling depends on their consistency and your personal taste. The original recipe had no cream cheese at all. But because of the texture of my ricotta I was not satisfied with the final result and had to make some alternations. So, make a small batch first to figure out the proportion you like most. Remember that the mixture should be rather dense but still spreadable.
  2. No doubt, the dish will make a nice centerpiece on a celebration table but you can also serve a few pieces of roulade as an entrée during a more casual dinner. In which case I would recommend to complement it with a sauce (now that I look at my picture, I can’t stop thinking that it surely needs some!) – Hollandaise will be a good choice.


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