Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mission: White Asparagus with Gribiche Sauce

This week we have a dual mission: a simple white asparagus salad with something called gribiche sauce, and chicken pie. Let's get into the sparrygas mis en place, shall we?

White asparagus and gribiche mis en place

Both of us were intrigued by white asparagus. Jacob has dim memories of consuming some, from a can, at a family friend's place in the hinterlands of Virginia years and years and years ago. Melissa has similarly dim memories of eating white asparagus, also from a can, in Spain. Neither of us really remember what we thought of it, Jacob being about 10 when he had it and Melissa being in college.

But as it would happen, this dish is mostly about the "sauce," which is built on hard boiled eggs. The first step in making it involves taking the yolks and muddling them up with some vinegar, just so:

Yolk and vinegar

And after doing that, we whisked in some oil to make a basic emulsification:

Emulsify!

And then we added the egg whites, which we had rough chopped, along with some other aromatics...

Gribiche

And then we put it in the fridge while we blanched the asparagus (which really? boring. we didn't take any pictures of that) and made a very simple vinaigrette and put it on some mesclun, and assembled as follows:

Asparagus Salad

And we served it with the chicken pie.

And the "sauce gribiche" final verdict -- it rocked. It rocked hard. It rocked harder than Bret Michaels rocks cleavage baring pole dancers. (Which is pretty hard, if you um, watch that sort of thing. Which we totally would never admit to doing. But we digress.) We could eat an entire bowl of it straight! We could stuff it into hard boiled eggs like a super-flavorful deviled egg stuffing! We could smear it on toast! We could... you get the idea. While we did make several jokes regarding the non-saucy nature of the sauce the taste and texture of it was... uh... no joke. We did some looking to see what other takes of gribiche were like, and they all were much more saucy and refined sounding.

As you have seen from how clean we work in the kitchen, and how well we wipe our plates for service, we're not really all that refined. We like it rough. And we'll eat it that way too.

We'll be seeing you later, sweet sweet gribiche sauce. We are officially your gri-b*tch, and liking it.

As for the white asparagus... meh. Not much flavor brought to the party by this ingredient. "It tastes like a water tube," one diner said, and the consensus was that though it was stated with the eloquence and vocabulary of a first grader, this was an essentially accurate description. In the end, we all pushed it aside in favor of devouring the gribiche. Let us not blame the asparagus, however. It didn't really get a proper smooth, refined sauce to mix n' meld with and it had to stand all by its lonesome next to a really awesome sauce that could be eaten by the spoonful. Poor asparagus. Maybe next time...

Note to selves: Muddlers can be used like mortars! At the last moment we realized we needed to mortar and pestle the yolks, and in one of her trademark ninja kitchen moves, Melissa came up with using a muddler we won at a mixology class. Gooooo Team!

Time, mis to eat: About an hour, a great deal of which was hard boiling the eggs.

Next up: PDC Chicken Pie (#8)

Blast from the past: It must be stock week! Carol B. made some really good looking veal stock and we made a few gallons of yummy chicken stock ourselves. (Sorry, no pictures, we have to keep some things a mystery!) So in light of that let's take a look at some work we did in that sandbox not too long ago.

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