One of the most difficult wines for Americans to pair with hors d’oeuvres is Sauternes. It is always thought of as an after-dinner or dessert drink, but it is actually best served as an apéritif with small bites, particularly anything containing blue cheese, or foie gras, as in these “packages.” This recipe was created by Bordeaux chef and restaurateur Georges Gotrand.
Focus on the richness of the foie gras by pairing with a similarly unctuous Sauternes or Barsac: recommended producers include Château Suduiraut, Château Riussec and Château Nairac (Barsac).
12 spears thin green asparagus, trimmed and scraped
2 ounces mousse de foie gras
10 basil leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
6 sheets phyllo pastry dough
1/3 cup butter (5 generous tablespoons), melted
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a skillet, bring salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook 5to 7 minutes, until tender with tested with a fork. Drain, rinse under cold water, and set aside on paper towels to drain.
In a large bowl, combine the mousse de foie gras, basil, and olive oil.
Place one sheet of the phyllo dough on a clean, dry surface, and brush lightly with some of the melted butter. Repeat with two more sheets, stacking each on top of the first.
Spread half of the mousse mixture over the top sheet of dough, then cut it into 6 equal squares. Place 1 asparagus spear on each of the 6 squares, leaving a ½ inch of pastry on the bottom. Fold the dough on the bottom over the asparagus base, then fold each side over and pinch to create a purse-like seal. Make appetizers with the remaining squares in the same manner. Repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo, butter, mousse mixture, and asparagus spears to create 6 more squares.
Place the asparagus packages on a baking sheet, brush lightly with more of the melted butter, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer the pastries to a serving platter and serve while still warm.