An elegant appetizer that is easy to make and tastes great
I love appetizers that are interesting but easy to prepare. I love serving soup or salad to start but sometimes I want something a little different so this parmesan flan makes a great alternative. When I invite friends over there are usually some dietary requirements that need to be taken into consideration when choosing a menu to serve. This parmesan flan recipe is easy to prepare and can be adapted to fit many diets. If you would like to keep it vegetarian then serve it with blistered tomatoes, roasted artichoke hearts and arugula. If your guests aren’t vegetarian then I recommend serving the flan with Prosciutto di Parma, Arugula and Blistered Tomatoes. The flans come together very quickly and then need to be baked in ramekins that are placed in a water bath for 20 minutes. To do this you will place the ramekins in a baking dish and then pour boiling water in the baking dish until ramekins are submerged half way in the water. This is a necessary way to make any flan, whether sweet or savory. It insures the the edges do not get burned and that the flan cooks evenly.
I also love the silky texture of flan. It’s almost like a spread and I have seen some of my guests use a knife to put it on a little bread before eating it. Why not? It is like a cheesy spread. The parmesan flavor is dominate in the dish but is softened by the milk and cream. It is essential to grate your own parmesan cheese and not use packaged grated cheese. I prefer Parmigiana Reggiano. Freshly grated cheese is much lighter and airier than packaged grated cheese. I like to grind some additional black pepper over the flan before serving it. I love the way the black pepper looks on top of the creamy white flan.
Should I serve the Parmesan Flan hot or cold?
I like to serve the flan a bit warm. It doesn’t have to be hot but I do not like it cold. You can time it so the flans come out of the oven 30 minutes before your guests arrive. The flan will need to cool for 15 minutes before you invert them onto the plate and add the arugula, blistered tomatoes, basil and prosciutto. You can set the plates aside so the appetizer is ready to serve when your guests arrive.
What else can I serve the Parmesan Flan with?
You can really serve the parmesan flan with a lot of things. Think of it as creamy, silky parmesan. It works well as a side dish too. You can serve it with grilled fish or chicken with some sautéed spinach. It is also delicious next to a sliced sirloin steak or filet mignon. Next time you make an antipasto plate think about making the flan to serve on the board next to the prosciutto and salami.
Parmesan Flan with Blistered Tomatoes and Arugula
- (4) 6 oz ramekins
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp cornstarch diluted in 1 tbsp water
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp black pepper plus more to sprinkle on top
- pinch nutmeg
- 20 grape tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- preheat oven to 350
- Put milk and heavy cream in saucepan
- add cornstarch and water mixture
- add whole pealed garlic clove, salt, pepper and nutmeg
- warm milk on low flame until hot but not boiling
- whisk eggs
- slowly add milk mixture to eggs being careful not to cook the eggs
- strain through fine sieve
- blend in freshly grated parmesan cheese and gently mix until cheese is melted
- grease 4 ramekins with spray or butter
- fill ramekins 3/4 of the way up
- put ramekins in a baking dish and then pour boiling water into baking dish until water is half way up ramekins. Be careful not to get water in flan.
- place on baking sheet in oven for 20 minutes until flan is set
- remove from oven and remove ramekins from water bath. Allow to rest for 15 minutes then turn ramekin over plate to release flan from ramekin. If it is a little stuck use a knife to gently run around edge of flan to release it from ramekin.
- Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat
- add tomatoes, salt and pepper – Be careful, they wil splatter as they cook
- shake tomatoes in pan until starting to brown and soften