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Asparagus and Artichokes with Hollandaise
Total 50 mins, includes cooling time
Active 25 mins
Makes 4 servings
Aside from the traditional eggs Benedict, hollandaise is best accompanied by fresh vegetables, cooked to perfection. This recipe covers two of my favorites, with two different preparations: asparagus and artichokes. Blanching helps quick-cooking vegetables maintain vibrancy and a snappy texture, so it works perfectly for the asparagus. Blanching is also great for broccoli in a broccoli salad or green beans, fennel, peas, and carrots. Meanwhile, artichokes can be a bit more intimidating. They are oddly shaped, very firm, and thorny. After trimming and boiling in well-seasoned water, the leaves slip off to expose the tender underside, making them the perfect vessel to scoop a bit of tasty hollandaise.
Ingredients
  • Artichokes
    • 2 large globe artichokes
    • Kosher salt
    • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Ice Bath
    • 3 cups ice
  • Asparagus
    • Kosher salt
    • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
    • Foolproof Hollandaise (recipe follows), for serving
    • Foolproof Hollandaise
      • 3 large egg yolks
      • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
      • Small pinch cayenne pepper
      • Kosher salt
      • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
      Directions
      1. Cook the artichokes: Combine 4 quarts water with 2 tablespoons salt in a large pot; bring to a boil over high heat.
      2. Meanwhile, prepare the artichokes: It is helpful to either rub your hands with lemon juice or pop on a pair of gloves. Artichokes can discolor your hands and leave a bitter residue. Pick off any leaves on each stem and any small leaves around the bottom of the stem. Using kitchen scissors, cut the tips off the outer leaves, removing the thorns. With a serrated knife, cut 1 to 1 1/2 inches off the tip of each artichoke. Trim the stem, leaving 1 1/2 to 2 inches and peel the outer skin from the stem. Rinse the cleaned artichokes under cold water, pulling the leaves open slightly. This will allow the boiling water to penetrate those inner leaves.
      3. Add the artichokes to the boiling water and turn the heat down to medium high to maintain a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook, turning the artichokes halfway through, until the leaves can easily pull off and a paring knife can be inserted with no resistance, about 40 minutes.
      4. Meanwhile, prepare the ice bath: Combine the ice with 1/2 gallon water in a large bowl; set aside.
      5. Blanch the asparagus: Combine 1 gallon water with 1 tablespoon salt in another large pot; bring to a rolling boil over high heat. It is important that the water comes to a rolling boil. Gently lower the asparagus into the boiling water, cover, and return to a boil as quickly as possible. Cook until tender but firm enough to retain the crispness or bite of a fresh vegetable, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus with tongs and place directly in the ice bath for 5 minutes to halt the cooking process. Drain and pat dry.
      6. Serve the artichokes and asparagus with the hollandaise. Dip each artichoke leaf into the hollandaise, place the meatiest part in your mouth, and, using your teeth, scrape the meat off the leaf as you pull it out. The stem portion is completely edible.
      1. Foolproof Hollandaise
        1. Combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender.
        2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let the butter become bubbly; once the bubbles have subsided and the butter is hot but not brown, turn the blender on low speed and slowly trickle in the butter. The eggs and butter will begin to emulsify, and the sauce will thicken. Once all the butter is poured in, run the blender for 15 seconds more. Turn off the blender and adjust the seasoning of the hollandaise to taste. Serve immediately over asparagus or poached eggs, or as a dipping sauce for artichokes or crispy potatoes.