Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Asparagus with grated egg and hollandaise
About a year ago, I ate at the lovely Bistro Jeanty in Napa. After a day of intense Cabernet tasting, we ordered one of the specials for the first course: asparagus layered with grated hard boiled egg and tomato served with hollandaise. It was absolutely delicious and full of flavor. I had never had asparagus prepared in that manner and the colors were stunning. And I am convinced that food just tastes better in Napa- the chefs focus on using the best seasonal, local organic ingredients.
I have been anxiously waiting to recreate the dish at home. After longing for pencil thin asparagus for the past 6 months, I was so excited to finally find it at my grocery store! And it was the perfect excuse to try an incredibly easy hollandaise in a blender recipe I had bookmarked from the Food Network, with extra cayenne pepper thrown in for a kick. Rather than grill the asparagus, I decided to blanch the spears in boiling water for a minute and half and refresh in an ice bath. It is amazing how good simply seasoning asparagus with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper tastes. We loved the dish and ate so much asparagus that we barely had room for the main course.
Asparagus with egg and hollandaise sauce (Inspired by Bistro Jeanty)
1 lb asparagus, trimmed
1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs
1 firm tomato, seeds and juice discarded
Hollandaise (courtesy of the Food Network)
1 large egg yolk
1.5 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
a pinch of cayenne pepper
4 tbsp butter, unsalted
1/2 tsp sea salt
Prepare garnish: Put 2 eggs in small saucepan, fill with enough cold water to cover top of eggs. Bring to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain and place eggs in an ice bath to stop cooking. Peel. Slice the boiled egg in half and separate white from yolk. Using a hand held grater, grate the egg white and egg yolk separately. Set aside.
Deseed and devein tomato and finely chop. Set aside.
Prepare asparagus: Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, add asparagus and cook for 1.5 minutes. Remove with tongs and immediately place in an ice bath to stop cooking. Pat dry and arrange on serving platter. Season generously with sea salt.
Prepare hollandaise: Heat butter until just melted. Put egg yolk, lemon juice, and cayenne in blender. Pulse to combine. Remove center piece of top of blender, continue pulsing and slowly pour melted butter in from the top until incorporated into smooth sauce. Season with salt. Serve immediately.
Assembly: Sprinkle egg white, yolk, tomatoes over the asparagus in separate rows. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Serve with hollandaise sauce on the side.