Friday, 3 November 2006
And then, wonder of wonders, artichokes magically appeared at the vegetable store. Good looking artichokes. At a reasonable price. Virtually next door to beautiful looking lemons. Say no more.
T trimmed off the stalks (I’ve heard rumours that one can use those woody stalks – we tried once but they really were too too woody) and steamed the artichokes. Then he made the most brilliant Hollandaise sauce. Not eggy. Smooth. Lemony. Buttery.
And we sat down to dine, slowly pulling the outer leaves off and dipping them in the ambrosial indulgence until the tender hearts were exposed. Oh Bliss! Oh Rapture!
makes enough for 2 hogs
- 2 eggs
- ¼ tsp salt (or so)
- ¼ c unsalted butter
- juice of ¾ lemon
- Put eggs and salt in a double boiler that is over smiling boiling water. Whisk constantly until you see the eggs get frothy and starting to thicken slightly – about twice as thick. But you don’t want to go as far as even beginning to get scrambled eggs.
- Gradually add chunks of hard cold butter, whisking constantly until the butter melts and the sauce is about the thickness you want.
- Add lemon juice, a quarter lemon at a time. Whisk and taste. Add more lemon if required.
Using this method, any eggy taste will be virtually gone. (We don’t actually know for sure that this works for icecream as well but would be surprised if it doesn’t. Certainly, after we started using this method, our Hollandaise sauce never tastes eggy.)
Serve warm with steamed artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, baked potatoes, eggs benedict….
As accompaniment, we baked potatoes and grilled a piece of pork shoulder. We drank inexpensive sangiovese only after taking bites of grilled pork or potato…. wine tends to not to marry at all well with artichokes.
Oh my my my!!! Once again our dinner was fantastic.
The artichokes were so wonderful that we went to get more the next day. But we’re not completely crazy. We dipped the leaves in blue cheese dressing (blue cheese and mayonnaise) instead of Hollandaise. And you know what? It was equally good!
Interestingly, there was no choke in any of the artichokes. What exactly have they been doing to artichokes? Perhaps it’s a good thing that we only have them once a year!
edit 5 November 2006:
There’s a pretty good article about artichokes at “Cooking for Engineers”. Lots of good photographs. You can see that he actually cuts the thorns off of the leaves before cooking. We think the artichokes are so pretty uncut that we leave the spines on and are just careful not to eat them.