Friday, April 4, 2008

Chilled Asparagus with Vinaigrette and Eggs Mimosa

All right, mimosas for everyone! Let's get drunk. No, not really. They say you learn something everyday, and on this day I learned that a Mimosa is actually a plant. Or maybe a tree. Either way, at least some of the species has yellowish-orange flowers. Hence the naming of the drink and the eggs mimosa part of this dish. This was also the first dish I was able to find a picture of the version actually prepared at Bouchon. The original blog, which contains a review of Bouchon and is very good in itself, can be found here. The dish is supposed to look something like this, so I had something to go on this time:

Let's get started. The ingredients here are pretty straightforward. That theme would follow throughout the day, as this dish was one of the easiest I've yet made. It's essentially asparagus, hard-cooked egg yolks, radishes, vinaigrette, and chives plus some seasonings.

Can't find the chives or vinaigrette in the picture? Oh, well, they blend in with the table. Just look more closely.

I started by blanching the asparagus, transferring them to an ice bath, draining them when cool, and setting them aside. Wait, you did know to break off the woody ends, trim them so that they're exactly the same length, peel them and then tie them in bundles to protect their gentle tips, right? Good.

Next up for the same treatment was a couple of cups of the asparagus trimmings. These got cooked a little longer and then pureed with just a tiny bit of the cooking water. I blended them into a coulis that would form the base of the finished plate. When I say blended, I mean really blended. For a long time. With a lot of scraping. Homogeneous doesn't begin to describe the end result.

Looks pretty great, right? Yeah, I didn't think so either. That said it was surprisingly good and pretty strongly asparagus flavored. There was going to be no shortage of bad smelling pee on this night.

After painstakingly peeling the hard cooked eggs and getting rid of the pesky whites, I pushed all of the yolks through a cheese grater. What came out looked more or less like I'd just stepped on the yolks and picked it all up and put it in a pile. Next time I'll probably just chop them up and save a little time and a dirty dish.

Now that all of the essential parts have been put in place, it was assembly time. I, as mentioned above, started with the coulis. Then down when the asparagus.

Things were getting salted and peppered and pretty much every stage now. On top of the asparagus went some vinaigrette, then the egg yolks, radishes, and chives. The finished dish looked something like this:

See how I stuck that flash in there to try and make things look a little brighter? Way to go me. I thought this was pretty outstanding, if not almost a meal in itself. The coulis and then egg yolks were fairly rich, and my god were there a lot of egg yolks. Kendra thought the eggs were a little over the top, and I didn't use more than 2/3 of what the recipe had called for. All that richness was balanced out by the vinaigrette, and the asparagus was fantastic. This currently takes the cake for vegetables so far. That really only means it beat the beets, but it was very good none the less. There were no major firsts for me in this one, but blanching is relatively new to me, so it was nice to see that turn out well.

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