ASPARAGUS CREPES WITH CHIVE HOLLANDAISE

Asparagus Crepes with Chive Hollandaise

 

By:

Michael Howell

Ingredients:

Hollandaise:
1     pound (454 g) butter, clarified (see note)
3     large egg yolks
1     teaspoon (5 mL) water
3     tablespoons (45 mL) white wine
Pinch of salt
Tabasco sauce, to taste
1     teaspoon (5 mL) lemon juice
1     tablespoon (15 mL) heavy cream
Fresh snipped chives, minced fine

Asparagus:
2     bunches fresh asparagus, pencil thin
1     teaspoon (5 mL) salt (sea salt is best)
1     tablespoon (15 mL) butter
1/4     of a lemon

Crepes:
2     eggs
3/4     cup (175 mL) 2 per cent milk
1     cup (250 mL) flour
1/4     teaspoon (1 mL) salt
3     tablespoons (45 mL) butter, melted
Cooking oil spray (i.e. Pam)

 

Directions:

Note: To clarify butter, bring it to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Gently cook for about 15 minutes , or until butter becomes frothy and large bubbles appear. (At this stage, butter appears to have cleared when stirred gently.) Strain through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer and reserve the clear liquid. Keep in a warm place near the stove, in a container that you can pour from easily, like a juice jug.

To make hollandaise: Pour two inches (5 cm) of water into a large high-sided saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add egg yolks to a metal bowl that will fit comfortably over saucepan; whisk in water and wine. Place bowl over the water and whisk
steadily until liquid appears to become a bit frothy and almost double in bulk, about two minutes.

While you whisk, have a helper slowly ladle in one tablespoon (15 mL) clarified butter. Whisk to incorporate, then add another tablespoon (15 mL), then very slowly, in a thin stream, whisk in remaining butter over three to four minutes. The sauce will thicken as you whisk. (Make sure the water is not boiling too rapidly or you might cook the eggs.) If sauce is too thick slowly whisk in a tablespoon or two (15 to 30 mL) of water to thin. When all butter is incorporated, whisk in salt, Tabasco, then the lemon juice (slowly) and the cream (the cream will help stabilize the sauce). Keep in a warm place (30°C) until you are ready to serve.

To prepare asparagus: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a good pinch of sea salt to the boiling water. Have nearby a large bowl of ice water. Trim tough ends off asparagus. Add asparagus to pot (Chef Michael prefers not to tie the asparagus in bunches, since water doesn’t circulate freely between the spears); cook three minutes on a rolling boil. Remove from pot with tongs or slotted scoop and plunge into ice water. (This keeps the asparagus a bright green.)

Let cool, pat dry and reserve.

To make crepes: Whisk eggs and milk together; whisk in flour, then salt and butter. Mix until smooth. Heat a large (12-inch/30 cm) non-stick pan over medium-high heat; spray with non-stick spray. With one hand, lift pan and with the other, ladle one-third cup (75 mL) of batter in middle of pan. Tip edges and rotate pan in a circular motion to coat entire bottom of pan. Batter should be thin enough to spread easily; if not, add a tablespoon (15 mL) of water to thin.

Return pan to burner and cook two minutes, or until edges turn brown and holes appear throughout. Flip crepe with a long spatula and cook for one minute more. Remove from pan and keep warm in a 200°F (100°C) oven. Repeat with remaining batter to make eight crepes.

To finish: When crepes are made, give pan a quick wipe to clean. Over medium heat melt butter, then add asparagus. Cook two minutes to heat through. Squeeze in juice from lemon wedge, shaking pan to distribute through asparagus. Gently reheat hollandaise over low heat (DO NOT BOIL). Stir in chives. Wrap a crepe around 10 to 12 asparagus spears; place on a warm plate and cover with three tablespoons (45 mL) of hollandaise. Repeat with remaining crepes and asparagus. Makes eight servings.

(When next in Wolfville, NS, visit Mike and Mary Howell’s restaurant The Tempest – CAPER)

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