Holiday Entertaining: Asparagus, Hollandaise, Caviar

Holiday Entertaining: Asparagus, Hollandaise, Caviar

Holiday Entertaining
Asparagus, Hollandaise, Caviar

More caviar? Yep, ’tis the season after all! Asparagus with Petrossian Ossetra Caviar is served as a fancy side dish to a standing prime rib roast of beef for a very special holiday meal.

The briny dark brown eggs create a striking presentation when draped over bright green asparagus with a pale yellow sauce. Silky hollandaise and crunchy roe make for an exquisite contrast of textures. The subtle flavor of the sea plays well with the earthy elegant taste of the asparagus. It’s an extraordinary dish – perfect for Hanukkah, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve.

Asparagus, Hollandaise, Caviar Recipe

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Modern Spring Rolls – Asparagus, Ham, Red Chili, Black Sesame, Almond

Modern Asparagus Spring Rolls - Red Chili, Black Sesame, Almond
Modern Spring Rolls

Asparagus, Ham, Cabbage
Basil, Mint, Tarragon, Cilantro
Red Chili, Black Sesame, Almond, Key Lime
Almond Butter Sauce, Sesame Chili Oil

Inspiration from two fabulous but completely diverse restaurants combined to form the basis for this Modern Spring Roll. An absolutely lovely lunch at Thai District in Long Beach, California where we were served some very herbaceous and memorable spring rolls. The other dish was what my brother and I both proclaimed “the best duck we have ever eaten” at Otium in downtown LA, which was accompanied by an elegantly rustic black sesame cashew crumble or “soil.”

Here I wanted to serve some herbaceous spring-y spring rolls in an individual presentation where the diner could enjoy asparagus with a trio of diverse sauces. Roasted almond butter sauce makes a refreshing change from the ubiquitous peanut sauce. Chili oil adds that fiery balance, while the black sesame almond soil adds a nutty crunchy texture. A squeeze of fresh key lime juice enlivens and brightens the whole plate.

Modern Spring Rolls Recipe

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Roasted Asparagus with Olives, Parmesan Inspired by Alain Ducasse

Rice Noodles with Pan-Roasted Asparagus, Olives, Parmesan
Pan-Roasted Asparagus over Brown Rice Noodles
Kalamata Olives, Balsamic Reduction, Shaved Parmesan

Organic brown rice noodles make this a fabulous gluten-free meal. Or omit the noodles and serve this asparagus as a low-carb side dish. Either way, French Master Chef Alain Ducasse’s recipe for “Roasted Asparagus with Black Olives” is a springtime winner. It’s the genius combination of just a few choice ingredients, it shines in its simplicity: Asparagus, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Olives, Parmesan.

In his snappy cookbook, Nature, Ducasse shares “simple, healthy, and good” recipes featuring plenty of fruit and vegetables, grains with a little meat or fish, all cooked in olive oil. The Chef admonishes us, “You can’t cook well without good ingredients.” To that end, make sure to choose the freshest asparagus, high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and authentic Parmesan for this recipe.

Pan-Roasted Asparagus over Rice Noodles Recipe

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Savory Matzo Brei with Asparagus and Smoked Salmon

Savory Matzo Brei with Asparagus and Smoked Salmon

Savory Matzo Brei
Asparagus, Smoked Salmon, Onion, Fennel
Sour 
Cream and Fresh Dill

We eat matzo (unleavened bread) on Passover to remind us of our ancestors’ Exodus from Egypt. Leaving in such a haste, they could not wait for bread to rise. Additionally, matzo is the “bread of affliction” – the food of slavery, it reminds us to be humble and to appreciate our freedoms.

Jett is 10 years old. The morning after our Seder for the first night of Passover, he had Matzo Brei for breakfast. Matzo, butter, eggs with a pinch of salt…and sugar! My cute nephew proclaimed it to be “awesome.” I simply sautéed the water-softened matzo in butter, then added eggs and scrambled it together. I served him the sugar on the side, so he could sprinkle his Matzo Brei with just the right amount. Turns out he likes it pretty sweet, no surprise.

This had me thinking about an adult version of Matzo Brei, a savory rendition celebrating springtime. No vegetable screams spring more than asparagus, and paired with smoked salmon, onion, fennel, dill, and sour cream – the adult version turned out “awesome” as well!

How to make Sweet Matzo Brei

Matzo Brei Recipe

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Truffled Poached Egg, Asparagus & Truffle Vinaigrette, Black Truffle & Potato Stack

Truffled Poached Egg, Asparagus & Truffle Vinaigrette, Black Truffle & Potato Stack

Truffled Poached Egg, Asparagus & Truffle Vinaigrette, Black Truffle & Potato Stack

The confluence of Spring, St. Patrick’s Day, a Potato Event, and a Black Winter Truffle resulted in one really spectacular dish.

It was time to eat that black truffle which had been infusing fresh eggs with its heady aromas for several days…beautiful spring-green asparagus at the market was irresistible…Food Network was featuring potatoes…and with St. Paddy’s Day around the corner, I just had to cook something green. So that is how this Triple Truffle dish was born. Simultaneously rustic and elegant, it is suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Truffle lovers will absolutely swoon!

Truffled Poached Egg, Asparagus & Truffle Vinaigrette
Black Truffle & Potato Stack RECIPE

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A Celebration of Green: Herbed Fettuccine, Spinach-Poached Egg

herbed fettuccine spinach-poached egg
A Celebration of Green

Herbed Fettuccine, Spinach-Poached Egg, Artichoke Heart
Asparagus, Baby Heirloom Tomato, Shredded Parmesan, Raw Pepitas
Tarragon, Marjoram, Thyme, Chervil

I simply cannot go to the Farmers Market without bringing home load of …everything green. Yesterday’s haul included tomatillos, asparagus, artichokes, raw pepitas, spinach, chervil, jalapeños, chervil, chives, little green tomatoes, sage, basil, tarragon, summer squash, thyme, marjoram. And probably more.

green pasta concept

What shall I do with all this GREEN stuff? Pairing with pasta sounds good…but not all the produce can end up in the final dish. It has to be balanced, the herbs and other ingredients have to harmonize. Alas the tomatillos, summer squash & jalapeños will be saved for another day. Asparagus stays. I’ll use marjoram for pretty floral and subtle lemony notes, tarragon for its sweet anise-like spice, thyme for pungency and earthiness, and chervil for its bright green color and lacy texture.

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Miso-Braised Asparagus, Ginger Sauce

miso braised asparagus, ginger sauce

Miso-Braised Asparagus, Ginger Sauce, Sliced Scallion
served on
My “Le PONT de la TOUR” China
in Honor of
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

While ginger sauce makes a heart-healthy alternative to hollandaise, braising asparagus in miso broth adds another layer of subtle flavor. A casual ladle of ginger sauce over braised asparagus makes for a zippy vegetable side. The addition of buckwheat noodles, tomatoes and pine nuts makes a vibrant meatless meal.

❖❖❖

Lucy Robinson Hanson
1886 – 1970

Over a century ago, Lucy Robinson and Jack Hanson were Londoners. Early in the 1900’s, Jack left England for Chicago to follow his dreams. Shortly thereafter and still a teenager, Lucy left her family and followed her true love to America. By 1952 Lucy was a widow, a mother of 7 and grandmother of 17 when Princess Elizabeth, while visiting Kenya, received the news of her father’s death and her own accession to the throne.

Lucy decided to take one of her grandchildren back to England to visit the family she hadn’t seen in many many years and to witness The Coronation which was to take place in Westminster Abbey on the 2nd of June 1953. They boarded the RMS Queen Elizabeth and sailed to England. The granddaughter that accompanied Lucy was my mother. She was 19.

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