Asparagus Velouté with Eggs and Enoki,
tasted on April 24, 2005 — Sorry for the few days between
postings, but we've been busy cooking for the most recent Jewish
holiday - Passover. Think of it as a kind of Jewish Thanksgiving.
Lots of food, and four mandatory cups of wine. Yes. Mandatory. I've
already documented our
efforts from a couple of years ago. This year we decided to do
fewer courses and do them even better. Focus focus focus. We thought
we would follow our own advice we regularly dole out to restaurants.
The menu consisted of: chicken soup with matzah
balls (I'll write a full report on this later), homemade gefilte
fish (again, I'll have to write up this report later), eggplant,
purple yam, and garlic terrine, and Lampreia
Coconut Cookies among other things. But there was one dish I'd
like to focus on today. At our Passover meals it's tradition to
start off the eating portion of the event with a small bowl of
saltwater with a sliced hard-boiled egg. This year I decided to do
something different. I still wanted to retain the essence of the
dish, the saltwater being tear-like and intended to evoke sadness.
But I wanted something more interesting.
Instead this year I made White Asparagus Veloute
with Egg, Enoki Mushroom Tempura and American Caviar. (Note: for
anyone really up on the rules of kosher food. Some Jewish sources
consider Sturgeon not kosher. But
some Conservative sources say it is. If you are keeping kosher,
and won't eat caviar from sturgeon, feel free to replace with eggs
from a fish that you will eat. Or even capers.) The caviar is there
for the salt. The white asparagus and tempura'd enoki mushrooms make
for a sea of softer tones with the egg.
Here's the recipe:
- Take one bunch of white asparagus, rinse and chop off the
bottom couple of inches from the stalks of asparagus.
- Chop the asparagus into 1 inch pieces, and set aside.
- Roughly chop half a large onion and set it aside.
- Take 2 tablespoons of rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) and
put in a saucepan large enough to hold the chopped asparagus and
an inch of water above it.
- Put the saucepan on a medium flame, and then add 3 ounces of
- Keep stirring the meat as it fries in the fat and cooks, but
don't let it get brown.
- After about 2 minutes add the onion.
- Sautee the onion and chicken in the fat for another few
minutes until the onions get soft. Stir frequently so that
nothing gets brown. Turn down the heat if you're worried about
- Add the chopped asparagus, 1 cup of chicken stock, and then
fill the pot with enough water to just cover the asparagus.
- Salt to taste.
- Cook on a medium flame and stir every few minutes
- The trick is to get cook the asparagus on the medium flame
until it's super soft and the different flavors in the saucepan
have started to integrate. This should take roughly 30 minutes.
- Take the pot off the flame and allow it to cool for another
- Fill your blender halfway with some of the contents from
your saucepan (likely they won't all fit at once, and you don't
want to fill too high as blending hot ingredients can result in
- Liquefy the contents of the blender and empty out into a
- Repeat this process until all the contents of the saucepan
have been liquefied to the finest consistency your blender can
- At this point you have to make a decision about thickness. I
was happy with what my blender produced. You may want to put
your velouté through a tamis to get it even thinner. The key for
me is to have a consistent consistency (as it were). Velouté
means "velvet". It shouldn't be watery, but it should be smooth
- When you have the right thickness put the velouté in a
sealed container in the fridge for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours put the velouté back in a pot and heat on a
- Hard boil 6 chicken eggs. Set them aside to cool
- Beat 1 additional chicken egg into a bowl and add 1
tablespoon of potato starch. Mix well. This is your batter.
- Dip 6 stalks of a few enoki mushroom each into the batter.
- Remove the mushrooms from the batter and deposit them for 60
seconds in very hot oil.
- Remove the mushrooms from the oil onto paper towel and allow
- To plate, slice the hard boiled egg with an egg slicer and
deposit in the bowl.
- Pour some of the asparagus velouté around the egg and stand
up a spring of the tempura'd enoki on the side (for anyone
familiar with the story of Passover, this is supposed to evoke
the reeds on the shore of the Nile)
- Top the egg with a half teaspoon of a salty caviar (I used
American sturgeon, feel free to substitute). This is the "salt"
in the dish (and it's also more eggs, so you get double
- Serve immediately so the caviar stays cold and the soup is
I had slightly different plans for this dish as I
was hoping to cook the eggs so the whites were cooked but the yolks
were soft and warm. That way when you put your spoon into the egg,
the yolk would leak out into the asparagus velouté. I also had
fantasies of cooking the eggs in containers that would make them
into cool shapes, but I'm not sure these even exist. Is there such a
thing as a plastic cube or pyramid or other shape that you can fill
with egg, seal, and then hard boil, only later to release the egg in
its cool shape? If that does exist, please tell me. If not, then I
expect royalty payments.
A couple of things to wrap-up. This seemed like a
big hit at our meal. Jenny
in particular enjoyed it. Additionally, I basically ripped off the
Velouté formula from the red cabbage veloute in All About Apples.
And finally, it doesn't need to be Passover, and you don't need to
be Jewish to enjoy this. I think it's quite good any time for