May 19, 2009

All I can say is, Yummm.....

So I did say that I planned to write about my asparagus french toast, right? Well, here it is, just in case you were dying to know.

The funny thing about this dish is that it was totally by accident. That happens a lot I guess, it happens a lot to me at least. But usually I'm trying to make something and it turns into something else and boom! magic, I've found something new. This was a little different. I was flipping through magazines, I can't even remember which one (Will is out of town and I only buy magazines when he is gone, it goes like this in my head "I'm working hard this week, yeah, really hard. I deserve a magazine! Yeah! Two magazines! THAT magazine! Even if I've never read it and probably won't like it! I DESERVE it!") Anyhoo, I was flipping through one of my newly acquired magazines when I came across and entry for savory french toast and asparagus with what I assumed was holandaise sauce. I didn't pause to look or read the recipe, I just kept flipping. But then later I started thinking about it. French toast! I love french toast! And asparagus, one of my favorite vegetables! And Hollandaise! Hollandaise is like the savory version of chocolate, everything is better with hollandaise. And other than the fiddly part of making the hollandaise (not letting the egg scramble) it's really an easy meal. So I gave it a whirl and know what? It was DIVINE! But as it turned out, that was not what the recipe was for when I went back to look. Ah well, their loss. Because, well, divine!

So divine, in fact that I just made it again tonight for a friend who's husband is also out of town this week. And again, DIVINE. It's one of those things I probably would not have tried out on Will, although I have a feeling that he'll be trying it one of these days since I'm already ready for more. And in making it a second time the easiness of the idea. it all hinges on the sauce, which sounds hard but really, it just isn't. Sure, making a perfectly smooth hollandaise isn't the easiest thing in the world. And many of recipes for it call for a vinegar reduction to enhance the flavor, but your basic hollandaise is just fine for this recipe, in fact, I think it's better. And you know what? If it's not perfectly smooth? Who cares! In fact, don't tell anyone but for my first go round I made the sauce in the microwave (gasp! sigh! oh the horror!)

I used to be intimidated by sauces like bernaise and hollandaise until I bought a little second hand copy of Clementine in the Kitchen (which is a great, GREAT book, by the way). So many of the recipes called for these sauces that I decided to give them a try
. Then when I broke down and finally bought my own copy of How to Eat and found Nigella's simple recipe, they started to crop up more regularly in my menus.

So go and try it! And if it scrambles, try again. Try it on french toast with grilled asparagus! Try it on roast chicken! Make Eggs Benedict! Just think how good you'll feel when you find that you can, in fact, make a sauce that is so terrible for you and so delicious!

French Toast with Roasted Asparagus and Hollandaise

serves 2

4 slices of hearty sourdough bread, not too thick. You could use another type of bread, I used an oat bread the first time but really thought the sourdough went nicely with the finished combination of tastes.
4 eggs, separated
8-10 T butter
1-2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
one large bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into three inch pieces

First, fire up your broiler and put the asparagus in an oven proof dish (I use a pie plate) drizzle with olive oil and butter and set it under the flame. You'll want to give it a shake a few minutes into cooking and keep half an eye on it so that it gets nicely grilled ( a hint of black) but not charred.

Now, in the top of a double boiler whisk two of the egg yolks until they are nice and smooth. When the water below begins to simmer, turn down the heat to low and start whisking in the butter a table spoon at a time. If it looks like it's going to curdle, take it off the heat, drop in an ice cube and whisk like crazy until it smooths out. When you've added the butter and the sauce has a nice golden silky look to it, stir in the lemon juice, tasting it until you have the richness you want. Add salt and pepper to taste (if you used salted butter, you probably wont want any salt, but hey, it's your sauce)

As the sauce is simmering whisk together the two remaining eggs and the two egg whites and make french toast as usual. I use a crepe pan for mine because it's well seasoned and needs no oil but it does mean I can only make one slice at a time so I keep them warm in a toaster until they are all ready.

Now, you've got the toast, you've got the sauce and your asparagus should be about done. Plate it up and serve! Yummm, I wonder if tomorrow is too soon for a repeat.

***Sadly, no photos' tonight since Will has our camera in Australia and well, I could have taken a photo with my phone, but I was too busy eating.