Asparagus and Sausage Tourtiére
- 2 pounds pencil-thin asparagus
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1 loaf day-old, chewy white bread, crust removed and thinly sliced
- 3/4 pound mild Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 12 to 14 ounces Italian fontina cheese, sliced, rind removed
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Butter two 14-inch pizza pans. Trim the asparagus to fit the radius of the pan.
Bring 3 to 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Plunge them into cold water, drain and pat dry.
Butter the bread slices and, buttered side down, completely cover the bottom of the pans, fitting the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle with no gaps.
In a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, fry the sausage. Use fork to crumble the meat as it brown. After about 5 minutes, remove and drain. Discard the grease.
Place a thin layer of sliced fontina over the bread, and then a layer of asparagus, arrange like the spokes of a wheel with the tips facing toward the center. Top with another layer of fontina, Divide and sprinkle half the sausage on the top of each pan. You can prepare the tourtiéres several hours ahead to this point.
Preheat the oven to 375º
Beat the egg yolks, cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg together lightly. Carefully pour half the egg mixture over the surface of each tourtiére. Sprinkle with grated parmesan. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the custard has set and the tops are golden brown. To make sure the tourtiéres brown evenly, switch the pans on the oven shelves halfway through the baking. Serve at once.