- 1 bundle thin asparagus, trimmed of tough stems
- 1/2 pound mild ham, such as French ham or other imported mild ham or boiled ham, chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, pasted or grated
- 1 small fresh chili, seeded and chopped
- 2 tablespoons mustard, Dijon or yellow
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
- 1 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, 1/3 palmful
- About 2 tablespoons parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 round tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- Salt and pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 cups shredded cheddar or Gruyere cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
Bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Salt it and cook asparagus 2-3 minutes. Cold shock, drain and reserve.
Heat oven to 400F.
Place ham in a food processor with onion, garlic, chili, mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce, paprika, parsley and thyme. Pulse process into finely chopped Deviled Ham.
Heat butter in medium skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, cook for 1 minute. Whisk in milk, raise heat a bit, and season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Thicken to coat spoon, adjust seasonings and stir in half of the total amount of each of the cheeses.
Arrange bread on a baking sheet, top with ham, asparagus tips and a layer of thickened sauce. Sprinkle on a little extra of each of the cheeses and bake the croques until brown and bubbly. Serve with Deviled Eggs alongside or topped with eggs over-easy.