Low carb and oh so good! Inspired by Gary Rhodes cheese sauce which I made in one of his recipes. The seasoning in the cheese sauce gives this dish a very unique flavor. This is a wonderful spring dish. If you are an asparagus lover as myself I hope you give it a try.
- 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
- 2 portabella mushrooms, cleaned
- 3 -4 tomatoes, quartered
- olive oil, for drizzling
- sea salt
For the Seasoned Cheese Sauce
- 1 whole clove
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 small onion
- 2 cups milk, I use skimmed
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
- 1 cup cream (optional)
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Cover a baking pan or cookie sheet with foil (for easy cleanup).
- Drizzle the olive oil over the mushrooms and asparagus and gently toss to coat them.
- Put the mushrooms in the center of the pan; arrange the asparagus on both sides of the mushrooms with tips pointing in both directions on both sides of the mushrooms; reserve the tomatoes at this point.
- Bake the mushrooms and asparagus in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.
- Scatter the tomatoes over top of asparagus; drizzling a touch of olive oil over the top of the tomatoes.
- Sprinkle a touch of sea salt over top of tomatoes and asparagus and bake for approximately another 10 minutes. Make sure to check your asparagus and mushrooms to desired tenderness.
- For the sauce:
- Pour the milk into a medium sized saucepan.
- Make an ‘ornament’ with the onion, bay leaf and clove by using the clove to pierce the bay leaf and then poke the bay leaf into the onion; add your ‘ornament’ to the milk in the saucepan.
- Warm the milk gently over low heat, to infuse the flavors, until it just begins to boil; cover and let rest for about 15 minutes or so while you follow the next step.
- In another medium saucepan melt the butter over low heat; mix in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes stirring constantly.
- Add the milk to the butter/flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time; cook and stir until all the milk has been added.
- For a stronger flavor in your sauce you can add the onion from the milk mixture at this point.
- Cook over low heat until thick, about 20-25 minutes; stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
- Once the sauce has thickened remove the onion, and add salt and pepper to taste; leaving the sauce over very low heat.
- Stir in the cream (if using) to give a silky texture to the sauce. You don’t have to use it all depending on the thickness of your sauce; keeping in mind the cheese will also thicken the sauce further.
- Add the mustard and cheese to the sauce until the cheese is melted; BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO LET BOIL!. The cheese will separate and it will not look appealing.
- Drizzle the Cheese Sauce over top of the baked vegetables and serve.
My husband and I enjoyed this attractive dish this evening - He especially enjoyed the tomatoes and put the cheese sauce on everything - I served it on the side. (I grilled salmon & served mushroom rice as a side - pared well with this recipe). The Cheese Sauce: The flavor is delicate and allows the vegetable flavors to come through. I used a medium cheddar (all I had on hand), didn't need to add the cream, left the onion in & did add the dijon. I was skeptical of using a clove but the flavor is subtle and it adds pleasurably to the sauce. The Veggies: SIZE COUNTS!! I suggest that you try to match the sizing of the vegetables so that they all cook at basically the same rate. The asparagus I had was thin and the mushrooms I purchased were large so I cooked the asparagus for a short period, removed it & allowed the mushroom caps to cook for an extended time. At the end of the cooking time when the vegetables are all together, I decided to broil them a bit, just enough to toast the skins lightly. As well, I couldn't possibly toss out that onion so I added it to the veggies before the last cooking time. I WILL make this again. An easy recipe to prepare, I found the cooking time rather long. Next time I'll grill my vegetables & will also add sweet peppers to the mix - and more onion! Thanks for the treat Summerwine!