Asparagus Rarebit

Adapted from: Serve this great variation on the old-fashioned cheese-and-beer sauce over pumpernickel toast for a delightful spring brunch dish.

NOTE: The asparagus can be warm or at room temperature, but make sure the sauce is served hot.

1 pound fresh asparagus
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 cups beer or ale, room temperature (OK if flat)
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 packed cup grated sharp cheddar (about 1/2 pound)
Salt, black pepper, and cayenne to taste
Pumpernickel toast
Minced fresh tarragon
Cherry tomatoes
  1. Trim the tough ends of the asparagus, and cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces. Steam under tender and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Sprinkle in the flour and dry mustard, whisking constantly.
  3. Add the beer or ale, horseradish, and garlic, and keep whisking as you bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Sprinkle in the cheese, and stir until it melts.
  5. To serve, heap some asparagus pieces on a slice of toast on a plate. Spoon a generous amount of sauce on top. Garnish with a light sprinkling of minced fresh tarragon, and a few cherry tomatoes, and serve while the sauce is still hot.