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Mum’s Recipe: Asparagus Bake

Editor-in-chief Michael McHugh shares a childhood favourite.

Mum’s Recipe: Asparagus Bake

Editor-in-Chief, Michael McHugh shares his family recipes for Asparagus Bake and a new updated version using salmon and vegetables.

“When I was a child and someone was invited home for lunch, Mum would always make her asparagus bake. As it turns out, for many years I have been making the recipe incorrectly and my dish tasted more like glue. My sister, Anne, found Mum’s original handwritten recipe and I asked her for it. I made the dish, photographed it and also gave the recipe to our food team here at MiNDFOOD. They have worked their magic on it, so you have two recipes to choose from – the original and the new, updated version.”

THE CLASSIC

Asparagus Bake

Serves 4

340g can asparagus, drained
210g can salmon, drained
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp flour
1 packet Maggi Vegetable Soup Mix
½ cup milk
2-3 toast bread slices, buttered

Preheat oven to 190°C. Chop asparagus. Grease ovenproof dish. Place half asparagus in dish. Cover with salmon, then eggs. Add remaining asparagus.

Heat butter in a small pot, add onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in flour; cook for one minute. Combine soup and milk, add to pot. Bring to boil, stirring; simmer for 3 minutes. Add to asparagus dish.

Remove crusts from bread; cut each slice into 4 squares. Place in dish, butter side up. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Serve.

THE UPDATE

Using fresh ingredients, and injecting flavour with herbs and spices, brings this classic dish firmly into the here and now while retaining its comforting qualities.

Salmon & Vegetable Bake

Serves 6

6 slices grainy bread
2 tbsp olive oil
150g bag spinach leaves, washed, or 150g bunch asparagus, trimmed
720g fillet salmon, bones removed
1 cup single lite cream
2 tbsp snipped chives
1 tbsp finely chopped dill, plus extra sprigs to garnish
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp white vinegar
6 eggs

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease 6 x single-serve dishes. Using star-shaped or circle cutters, cut out shapes in each slice of bread. Brush with a little olive oil on both sides. Bake for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.Repeat on other side. Set aside.

Cook spinach in a frying pan for 1-2 minutes until just wilted. If using asparagus, trim spears and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, until tender. Refresh in cold water. Drain and set aside.

Cut salmon into even 6 x 120g pieces, trimming off any fatty pieces and remove skin. Place in each dish.

Arrange some spinach or asparagus spears in each dish. Mix together cream with chives, dill and nutmeg and season to taste. Spoon a little cream mix over each dish. Cook in oven for 8-10 minutes until salmon is opaque.

Meanwhile, heat a pan with water and bring to a simmer. Add a splash of white vinegar. Break eggs into water and poach for 3-4 minutes. When salmon is cooked, remove dishes from oven. Place a poached egg in each dish.

Top with bread croutons; season to taste. Serve with dill sprigs.

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