Ham And Asparagus Gratins
12 large asparagus spears
6 slices roast ham
30 g (1 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
30 g (1 oz) flaked almonds
90 g (3 oz) gruyère or mature Cheddar cheese
4 5 g (1½ oz) butter
45 g (1½ oz) plain flour
470 ml (15fl oz) milk
2 teaspoons French mustard
Salt and pepper
1 For sauce, grate the cheese. Melt butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat and gradually stir in milk. Return to heat and cook to give a smooth sauce, stirring. Stir in cheese and mustard and season with salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat.
2 Break off and discard woody ends of asparagus spears. Thinly peel stems using a potato peeler. Cook asparagus in a pan of boiling water for 4 minutes, or until tender, then drain.
3 Preheat oven to 190ºC (375ºF/ Gas 5). When asparagus spears are cool enough to handle, cut ham slices in half and wrap each piece around an asparagus stem. Arrange ham and asparagus rolls in a lightly greased baking dish. Spoon over sauce and top with breadcrumbs and almonds. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until sauce is hot and bubbling and topping is crisp and golden. Serve immediately.