Spring and summer mornings, local produce rolls into Toski Sands Market on M-119 between Petoskey and Harbor Springs—fruit, veggies and herbs from the farms scattered over the lush coastal hills that ring Little Traverse Bay. Most of it is heaped au naturel on the shelves of this specialty food store. But Sue McGlaughlin, who owns Toski Sands with her husband Keith, puts enough aside to keep the shiny deli case laden with gourmet takeout dishes. Here’s one way she uses fresh asparagus from nearby Friske and Kitely farms.
- 1 pound local asparagus
- 2 pounds ricotta cheese
- 1⁄4 cup Parmesan
- 1⁄2 cup fresh local basil, coarsely chopped
- 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
- 3 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- Freshly grated Parmesan
- Pinch of salt & fresh ground pepper
Blanch the fresh asparagus in salted water for about 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Shock in an ice cold water bath until chilled. Dry with a towel and dice into small pieces, reserving tips for later.
In a food processor, add the ricotta, Parmesan and basil leaves. Slowly pulse until incorporated. Add the cream, pulse. Turn the processor on and slowly add one egg at a time and the egg yolk, plus the salt and pepper, pulsing until incorporated. Add the asparagus pieces (excluding tops), pulsing a few times.
Butter a quart soufflé dish or four 1-cup ramekins, and fill the ramekins with the ricotta-asparagus mixture. Top with the asparagus tips and freshly grated Parmesan. Bake for 35–45 minutes or until puffy and a skewer inserted in the center comes out relatively clean.