Years ago when I was a nanny in England, this scrumptious treat was the family favorite for tea or supper–cheesy and comforting, but quick to make and very nutritious. Hiding asparagus in the cheese sauce was a clever way to sneak some healthy veggies into the children’s tummies.
The recipe uses store-bought crumpets (which Americans call English muffins) and the cheese sauce is reminiscent of Welsh rarebit. Whatever we call it, this is a great make-it-quick hit with both children and adults of all ages.
4 English muffins
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 cup dark beer
2 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon prepared English-style mustard
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup lightly-steamed asparagus, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
1. In a saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until smooth. Add the beer gradually, whisking constantly, until a thick sauce forms. Add cheese, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste and stir until cheese melts and mixture is well combined.
2. Split the muffins and toast them. Top each half with asparagus, then with cheese sauce, and pop under a broiler until the crumpets turn golden brown.
By Cait Johnson, author of Witch In the Kitchen (Inner Traditions, 2001).