Winter is behind us and the sun is starting to warm the soil in our gardens in preparation for the glorious days of summer just around the corner. At this time of the year, one of the first shoots of the season is asparagus, a local vegetable that screams springtime to me. The local season is relatively short and while we can buy asparagus all year round from across the globe, locally grown always tastes that much better. Asparagus and butter go together like peanut butter and jelly, Fred and Ginger, SpongeBob and Crabby cakes. The asparagus recipe in this issue has everything to make those delicate spears of green goodness pop.
Polonaise is categorized in the classic repertoire as a sauce, even though it is dry and crunchy. The secret is to use enough butter to ensure the breadcrumbs are evenly toasted. When combined with the lightly-charred asparagus—and even more butter in the easy-to-prepare, lemony Hollandaise sauce—the perfect synergy of richness, crunch, freshness, and acidity is the result. A sublime springtime dish.
The cured egg yolks are a fun way to incorporate beautiful golden orange free-range yolks with a unique texture and presentation. As the salt ‘cooks’ the proteins in yolk, it begins to firm up without turning yellow and chalky as happens in the heat-based cooking methods. By adding different flavours, and even more sugar to the cure, it’s possible to create tasty little globes of eggy goodness that have many wonderful and creative food applications.
Camosun Culinary Arts students are offered a myriad of old and new techniques from our highly experienced team of industry professionals with fresh ideas coming all the time. Cooking is about working with great regional products and applying any number of methods to bring out the best of those ingredients.
Find all of Steven’s contact info on the Camosun Culinary Arts portal listing page here on GoWestShore.
Grilled Asparagus Spears Polonaise
Yield: 8 portions
80 g 1/3 cup Salt
80 g 1/3 cup Sugar
5 ml 1 tsp Orange zest
5 ml 1 tsp Fennel seed, cracked
2 ml 1/2 tsp Pink peppercorns, cracked
40 Asparagus spears (1 or 2 bunches)
25 g 2 tbsp Butter, unsalted
40 g 3/4 cup Breadcrumbs
5 g 1/8 cup Chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
METHOD: DAY 1 & 2
Note: Egg yolks require minimum of 48 hours to cure.
- At least 2 days ahead, combine salt, sugar, zest, fennel, peppercorns, and place 2/3 evenly in the bottom of a shallow container. Make 4 dimples with an egg shell to make space in
the salt/sugar mixture for yolks.
- Separate the eggs and carefully place each yolk into a dimple in the salt/sugar mixture.
- Gently sprinkle remainder of the salt/sugar mixture over the egg yolks to cover completely.
- Refrigerate for at least 48 hours. (Yolks can be cured for up to 1 week, making them harder and more flavourful.)
- Mix egg whites lightly with a pinch of salt and pepper and pour onto a small plate lined with plastic wrap; cook in microwave until firm, then chill.
METHOD: DAY 3
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the bottom half of each asparagus and cook in rapidly boiling, salted water for 30-45 seconds, depending on the thickness of the spears.
- Chop the cooked egg white coarsely.
- Heat butter in a sauté pan and cook breadcrumbs, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Remove from heat. Add cooked/chopped egg white, parsley and salt and pepper.
- Season asparagus with salt and pepper and a little olive oil, then grill spears.
- Remove egg yolks from salt/sugar mixture, rinse carefully, pat dry, and remove any membrane. Cut into thin slices and serve on top of asparagus and bread crumbs.
- Finish with Hollandaise Sauce.
Yield: 25 ml
80 g 2 cups Butter, melted
2 Egg yolks
15 ml 1 tbsp Lemon juice
15 ml 1 tbsp White wine
15 ml 1 tbsp Hot water
Salt & pepper
- Place yolks, lemon, wine and water in a stainless steel bowl over a pot of gently simmering water.
- Beat the egg yolk/lemon/wine mixture whisking steadily until the mixture becomes slightly thick and fluffy.
- Remove the bowl from the hot water and continue beating for a few seconds.
- While constantly whisking the egg mixture, slowly add the warm butter.
- Season with salt, pepper and tabasco to taste.