Friday, January 2, 2015

Is it possible to improve on hollandaise sauce?

It's the beginning of asparagus season in California.  If you have an active winter farmer's market and live in Southern California...congratulations.  Run and get some fresh local asparagus.

This week I've had it twice.  Welcome back asparagus, it's been a long wait, but you're here now and I'm loving you!

As you may know, at NutriGuide, we are currently working on putting together a report on healing eczema with food.  We are researching all over the world for scientific studies that document foods, supplements and herbs that heal eczema.  We also have a Chinese Traditional Medicine doctor on board and she has given us a lot of information about healing eczema.  She has an extensive list of foods and herbs for healing eczema, but one thing on her list is tangerine peel.  (By the way, once we're done with eczema we'll be tackling all the major diseases!)

Of course, it's winter and we're in the midst of tangerine season right now so it's a good time to be eating tangerines anyway.  But I'm also developing recipes for our eczema diet, so whenever I can add tangerine peel to a recipe, I like to do so.

This week, I made Asparagus with Tangerine Hollandaise sauce and it was absolutely scrumptious. Honestly, I had to stop myself from licking the plate, it was so good.  Of course, hollandaise is a ridiculously delicious food anyway.  But who knew hollandaise sauce would be so much better with tangerine than lemon??!!

Yes, hollandaise sauce is one of those foods we all avoided or rationed during the "low fat" years, but now that we know that eating butter and eggs does not raise cholesterol, it's back on the menu.  In fact, eating butter from pastured cows and eggs from pastured chickens provides important omega-3 fats your body needs to keep disease-causing inflammation at bay.   Be sure you eat pastured butter and eggs if you want to get the healing omega-3s.  

Anyway, I loved this and I hope you do, too.

Asparagus with Tangerine Hollandaise Sauce

1 bunch fresh asparagus with root ends snapped off
2 egg yolks
3 T freshly squeezed tangerine juice
6 T organic butter from pastured cows
sea salt and white pepper to taste
grated tangerine peel from 2 tangerines

Put the asparagus in a little boiling water to cook.  While it is cooking, in a double boiler over high heat (or heavy duty enameled sauce pan over medium heat (see below), add egg yolks and tangerine juice and whisk constantly as eggs thicken.  Add in 6 T of butter, 1 T at a time, continuing to whisk continuously until all butter is combined and sauce is thick.  Remove from heat immediately as hollandaise is ready and add in the salt and pepper.  Be sure to pull the asparagus off the heat and drain it as soon as it is just done.  Serve the asparagus topped with hollandaise and sprinkle tangerine peel on top.

Cooking Tip:  I hate setting up a double-boiler.  It's just one more added step... and I'm always for shortcuts.  I like to make hollandaise in a heavy-duty enameled sauce pan like this one from Chantal. I have several of these and they've lasted me for many years.  They are fantastic for delicate sauces.  The heavy bottoms keeps the heat even and you can whisk up a sauce quickly without it curdling.  I simply keep the heat on medium and stand by the pot with my whisk active at all times.  It makes Hollandaise in a minute or two.  Be sure to remove the sauce from the burner the moment it is completed.  Quick and Easy.  And after all, when it's quick and easy, you're more likely to take the extra step and make the delicious sauce!

Cooking Tip #2:  Cooking easily and pleasurably is partly about having the right tools.  A microplane is the quickest way to grate citrus.  It easily makes perfect grated rind that does not need further mincing.  If you don't have one, make a plan to get one soon.  They are not expensive--the one shown above is available for $15 at Crate and Barrel.  This is one of those little tools that will make a huge difference in your kitchen.  By the way, they're great for grating fresh Parmesan cheese, too.

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