Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tea Room Recipe #10 - Wenham Tea House (Wenham, Mass.)

As soon as warmer weather comes I promise I'll stop featuring these hearty, comfort-food recipes from my old tea room cookbooks. But until that day comes, I must confess I've gone all Paula Deen on us again this week with another rich and delicious recipe, this one for Asparagus-Ham Casserole.

This recipe comes from my 1992 Wenham Tea House Cookbook from Wenham, Mass. Happily, this tea room is still in business! The tea room is owned by the Wenham Village Improvement Society, which according to the tea room's web site is "a philanthropic organization which turns profits back to the community through scholarships, summer programs, and other philanthropies." You can go here to read more about it.

Now I love-love-love asparagus, partly because it's such an elegant looking vegetable, and I love to "roll up" foods for casseroles and tea sandwiches, so this recipe was perfect for me—and so easy!

I was a little nervous about making the cream sauce with cheese, but I needn't have worried.

It baked up beautifully with a sauce as smooth as velvet!

Asparagus-Ham Casserole

1 pound asparagus, fresh or frozen (I used fresh)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste; I'm not much of a salter)
Pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon grated onion
1-1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 thin slices of ham (I used Black Forest ham from the deli)
2 cups cooked rice

Cook asparagus until tender-crisp and keep warm. Melt butter in a saucepan, then whisk in flour, salt, pepper and mustard. Add onion. Continue to whisk over low heat, stirring constantly, for a couple of minutes. Slowly add milk in several additions, again whisking constantly until mixture is thick and smooth. Add cheese and whisk some more. Drain asparagus and sprinkle with lemon juice. Roll up asparagus in the ham slices (I used about three spears per roll-up). Spray an 8- or 9-inch-square baking dish with cooking spray and spoon in the rice. Add ham rolls, then top with sauce. The cookbook recommends broiling 6 inches from the heat source until golden brown. Broiling makes me nervous, however, so I just cooked mine at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. And. Man. Was. It. Good! Yields 6 servings. (Or more, if you have a little restraint!)


  1. Sounds delicious, and I do love asparagus!

  2. Looks good too! This would make a lovely luncheon dish when the asparagus is in season. My hubby won't eat this vegetable so I usually only steam a few at a time for me.

  3. This would be lovely for a delicious Easter luncheon!

    The snow now just now starting...shall I send you some?

  4. Wonderful! That brought back memories from childhood. I haven't had, ade or eaten that fro years! Used to love it!

  5. Oh this looks amazing! I'll be saving this to try when we have asparagus from our garden.Thanks so much for sharing it.

  6. A touch of spring with the asparagus!

  7. This recipe looks delicious, Angela! Glad to hear the tearoom is still in business. Thanks so much for sharing the photos and the recipe, Joanie

  8. Lovely recipe... sounds delicious! Not only do I have this cookbook, but my sister and I visited this tea room in '97! Whenever I refer to our 'Traditional English Cream Scones' (served at the majority of my tea events), it's the Cream Scone recipe on page 41! The only difference, I brush mine with an egg white wash and sprinkle with sugar before baking. The Cran-Orange Scones on that same page are also fun! We enjoyed the tea room, but I remember it being pretty casual.


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