Did you read sneff's Asparagus with poached eggs and Parmesan and come away thinking, "That's great, but it needs more cholesterol?" Never fear, tonight I cooked a decadent dinner that will serve your gluttonous needs. It went a little like this:
- one bundle of asparagus (I'm thinking the size that usually weighs a pound/500g)
- three egg yolks, (in my case separated by the tried-and-true "pass the yolk between the two halves of the shell over a bowl" method, but you can also strain the whites off through your fingers if you're feeling particularly hardcore/into getting your hands dirty)
- one stick (1/2 cup, 8 tablespoons) butter
- lemon juice
- hot sauce (Tabasco, Tapatio, pick your favorite)
- two to four more eggs for frying (optional, I suppose, but since you're already bathing everything in Hollandaise sauce, why hold back?)
- maybe some good bread for sopping up extra sauce
Clean the asparagus and put them in the pot to boil or steam (see How to cook asparagus, which also contains directions for roasting the veggies if you're so inclined). If you're fast, the sauce will be ready at the same time as the delicious veggies.
Meanwhile, start the Hollandaise: start 7 tablespoons of butter melting in the frying pan. While it melts (on medium heat, so it won't burn while you make your other preparations), separate the first three eggs, putting the yolks into your stainless bowl or the top of the double boiler, where you whisk them with a splash of lemon juice (about 1 tablespoon) and a dash of the hot sauce (a pinch of cayenne or some finely ground white pepper would work well, too) until smooth. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter, turn on the double boiler or put the bowl in the pot of water and turn on the heat.
Whisk. Whisk like mad. Whisk till you're bored, if you're me. But keep whisking till the butter's all melted (the stuff in the frying pan should be liquid by this point, too). Just as the yolk/lemon juice/butter mix is starting to show signs of cooking (you'll see bits of what look like scrambled eggs around the edges), take it off the heat and add the melted butter. Whisk like mad (again) and watch the magical transformation into Hollandaise sauce! (If instead you get what looks like very runny scrambled eggs in melted butter, there's a few options: add an ice cube, let it melt, and hope that shocks the whole mix together; put the bowl in an ice water bath and keep whisking till it binds, then remove it at once; put in a very little bit of cold cream or half and half and let that shock it into binding, or give up and try again. Your choice, but if you opt for the latter, don't throw out your first attempt too soon; oftentimes all it needs is to cool down to a temperature where everything can congeal together.)
Set the Hollandaise aside (it's best served at a bit above room temperature) and check your asparagus. It should be done, at which point you can pile it on two plates.
If desired, fry up one or two eggs per person and put these on the piles of asparagus. (Note how using the same pan you melted the butter in saves doing some dishes and having to oil the pan. Clever!) Alternatively, skip directly to the "bathing everything in Hollandaise sauce" portion of the festivities and enjoy. Just lay off the bacon and deep fried stuff for a few days to let your poor body recover.
The idea for asparagus with fried eggs comes from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, although I didn't actually look at their recipe while making this. The recipe for Hollandaise sauce is based on the one in The Vegetarian Epicure Book Two, but all my talky advice is from months of making Hollandaise sauce for the eggs Benedict addicts who patronize the Glenwood Restaurant in Eugene, Oregon. Thanks go to grundoon for suggesting asparagus with Hollandaise as a suitably decadent meal for pampering myself with today, and Jongleur for rescuing the Hollandaise when I thought I'd broken it.
This has been a Node Your Dinner production.
2004.05.01 at 04:16 momomom says re Asparagus Hollandaise: oh yum.