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Dishing it out: Put some spring
in your skillet!

Comments Off on Dishing it out: Put some spring
in your skillet!
21 March 2012

As seen in MontereyCountyThe Herald Posted:   03/20/2012 02:45:08 PM PDT March 21, 2012

When I think of spring, it’s the same old delicious story that comes to mind — the story of a crop that’s a nutrient-dense food, high in folic acid, is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, A and C, and thiamin. It has no fat, contains no cholesterol and is low in sodium.   A harvest that eats well in almost any fashion: steamed, blanched, grilled, blistered, baked, wrapped, dipped or raw.

I’m talking about the tale of asparagus, those vibrant, green-as-an-emerald, mild yet inimitable spears of the earth. As a salad, in pasta, with a steak, to me, asparagus is spring!

Thin as a pencil, thick as a branch, asparagus’ unique form and distinctive flavor makes it this chef’s go-to
vegetable throughout the season.

Asparagus is in the same family as onions and garlic, grown from a crown of roots that is buried a foot or so below the surface. The spears shoot up from the crown and are covered with soil as they peek out of the ground. In the warmer months of spring and summer, the spears kick it into high gear and can grow as much as 10 inches in a 24-hour period.  Not that it would be good TV, but you could literally watch the grass grow.

A simple pleasure comes from combining thick peeled asparagus spears blanched till toothsome but tender with a perfectly poached egg and some micro-thin sliced cured pig, a sprinkle of coarse salt …

Speaking of the incredible edible huevo… Not only does it come individually wrapped, packed with essential nutrients in varying amounts — including high-quality protein, choline, folate, iron and zinc — but eggs are gosh darn delicious! And so it goes without saying that they are perfect for every meal time. I have said it before, but let me say it again: I love eggs. And again”: I love eggs. Poached, shirred, scrambled, fried, over easy, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, coddled, deviled, Benedict, Florentine — I can go on and on, but let’s get to business.

Most of us think of eggs for breakfast.
Sure, at sun up the rooster crows, the hen lays an egg and grandma fries it up!
Maybe a little “oink” to go with it and a slice of toast — that’s how you started the day.

Well how about a sensational frisee salad tossed with crisp bacon, garlicky, olive-oil vinaigrette and a tender, poached egg nestled up on top? Just hunkering down waiting to be cracked open and seep that golden, liquid lovin’ all over the greens, enriching the salad and balancing the bitterness for a delectable light dinner. I’ve been know on many occasion to crack an egg or two on top of a pizza cooking away in the oven toward the final few minutes of cooking time. Polenta and stew … with an egg! Spaghetti and an egg! Pan-roasted salmon and, you guessed it, an egg! A late-night snack at the Fisher Shack needs little pondering: need a little something, something … soft scrambled eggs with layers upon layers of soft egg
folded over on themselves. Perfection indeed!

So I thought I would share a great recipe that we pulled together last week for one of my hands-on cooking classes. I also attached my recipe for Hollandaise sauce. This is a keeper. Cut it out and put it somewhere you can find it. Don’t blame me when you’re addicted to it, however. All I can say is welcome to the club! Till next time, eat, live and be well!

Eggs Florentine

4 slices (1-inch thick) sourdough bread

3 T. olive oil
Coarse salt and ground
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 lb. baby spinach
4 large eggs

Step: Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Place bread on a baking sheet and brush both sides with 2 T. oil.  Season with salt and pepper. Broil until golden, 1 to 3 minutes per side; set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tsp. oil over medium. Add scallions and as much spinach as will fit; season with salt and pepper. Cook until wilted, tossing and adding more spinach as room becomes available, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain off excess liquid; Transfer to a bowl; cover to keep warm. Set aside.

Meanwhile bring half-full medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Add 2 T. white vinegar and stir to mix. Reduce to a hot simmer, Carefully crack eggs into the current. Simmer for 2-4 minutes and remove from pot with a slotted spoon.

Top each piece of toast with spinach mixture and 1 egg and hollandaise. Serve immediately.

CT Hollandaise Sauce

3 large egg yolks
1 T. warm water
1 T. fresh lemon juice
¾ tsp. coarse salt
3 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 dashes whatsthishere sauce
2 tsp. white
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

Steps: In a blender, combine egg yolks, water, lemon juice, salt, Tabasco, whatsthishere sauce and vinegar; blend until frothy.

Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium until bubbly (do not let brown). With blender running, pour in hot butter in a very thin stream, blending until sauce is thick and emulsified. A touch more warm water maybe needed to achieve proper consistency.

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