Sunday, April 4, 2010

Here comes Peter Cottontail...

Today was Easter Sunday. We started off the morning at a house party with friends. There were lots of adorable young children there dying eggs, hunting for eggs and probably eating eggs (of the chocolate variety). There was a giant ham that was completely devoured and the most interesting and surprisingly scrumptious dishes like hashbrown casserole.

We then made our way to my in-laws' home for dinner. I was in charge of a veggie dish. I wanted something that was worthy of my mother-in-law's fabulous cooking. She too was making a ham with sides of sweet potatoes and a green salad with slices avocados and oranges. Yum!

I decided to make asparagus with hollandaise sauce. One, I know my mother-in-law loves asparagus. Two, it's in season. Three, what better excuse than a holiday meal to ingest lots of hollandaise sauce? 

I made hollandaise sauce once before and remember it being quite a tedious process. Which is perhaps the reason I haven't made it in about seven years. I found this recipe online that claimed to be an easy method. Easy is just my speed, so I gave it a try. I only made half the amount which is still PLENTY. Unless you are serving ten people, I see no need to make the full amount. The lemon juice I kept at one teaspoon because I wanted a little more of a tang. It was extremely easy and ridiculously good. 

I spooned it over two of these plates of roasted asparagus

Easter egg hunts, good friends, family and delicious food. What a great day!

Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce


This unorthodox but easy method for making hollandaise sauce appears in an edition of the Esquire Cookbook (Crown, 1955). In traditional recipes, egg yolks are cooked until thick in a bowl, with a wine reduction, over simmering water before clarified butter is whisked into them. In this streamlined version, nearly all the ingredients are cooked together at once to make a luscious, full-flavored sauce.
1⁄4 cup white wine vinegar
1⁄4 cup dry white wine
10 black peppercorns
1 large shallot, finely chopped
8 egg yolks, beaten
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Kosher salt, to taste
Tabasco sauce, to taste
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1⁄2 lbs. asparagus, woody ends removed

1. Put vinegar, wine, peppercorns, and shallots into a large skillet over medium-high heat; simmer until reduced to about 2 tbsp., 5–6 minutes. Strain reduction through a fine-meshed sieve and let cool.
2. Pour water into a medium pot so that it reaches a depth of 2"; bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a large bowl, whisk together reduction, yolks, butter, salt, and Tabasco. Set bowl over pot; the bottom shouldn't touch water.
Whisk mixture until thick, 4–5 minutes. (Don't be alarmed if it looks curdled.) Remove bowl from heat; add lemon juice and 1⁄4 cup warm water; whisk until sauce is smooth; keep warm.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add asparagus; cook until just crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving platter. Pour sauce over asparagus and serve.

This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #109

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