Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lemon Parsley Sauce

Canadian Bacon and Asparagus Crepes with Lemon Parsley Sauce

Spring is asparagus season, a perfect excuse opportunity to consume pints of hollandaise sauce. Oh, wait. I'm supposed to be cooking healthier foods to lower my triglyceride count and keep RL's heart and arteries in tip top shape. Drat, there goes my favorite Blender Hollandaise with its requisite two sticks of butter and two or three egg yolks per batch. Sigh. "Good bye butter." 

Asparagus adds a sprightly Spring note to countless salads and pasta dishes, all without hollandaise. Roasted or grilled asparagus is delicious without sauce, fresh off the heat and sprinkled with lemon zest or parmesan shreds. But I am going to miss that decidedly decadent hollandaise on veggies, over crab cakes, and topping Eggs Benedict, etc. "Get over it, Dee!

I planned to serve asparagus in breakfast crepes with strips of lean Canadian Bacon and top it with a lemony sauce that did not rely on butter. The resulting lemon, parsley, mustard concoction worked, but it's really a work in progress. The recipe needs a little tweaking to improve consistency and appearance. Less cornstarch will be the first adjustment. The unusual color might be due to the green Tabasco sauce or the egg yolk from a friend's Polish hen. Warmed, the sauce had good flavor and spread well over and under the crepes. Chilled, the next day, the sauce was an immobile blob that refused to spread as a sauce. It just sat there, it didn't even jiggle. It redeemed itself later on as a dip for vegetables when thinned with some sour cream. 

While it was definitely not hollandaise, this lemon parsley sauce was flavorful enough that RL said he would cheerfully eat it again. That comment was a huge endorsement, since he was quietly dubious about the whole dish when he arrived at the table. Just in case the whole breakfast crepe thing with That Sauce was a disaster, he started his breakfast with a plate of pickled herring. LOL, that man plans ahead. 

Lemon Parsley Sauce

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth 
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (divided)
lemon zest (optional)
1 generous tablespoon cornstarch
½ tablespoon honey Dijon mustard
1 bunch flat leaf parsley (leaves only, not the long,bare stems)
1 very large egg yolk
1 teaspoon green Tabasco sauce (more to taste)
salt and white pepper, to taste (RL insists some salt is essential)

Place the chicken broth, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and some zest (if you are using zest) in a small saucepan. Add the cornstarch and whisk or stir to incorporate. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently if not constantly, until the sauce clears and thickens somewhat. Keep warm while you work on the other ingredients.

Add the parsley, honey mustard, egg yolk and 1 remaining tablespoon of lemon juice to the jar of a blender and pulse to begin pureeing. With the blender running on a slow speed, slowly add the broth mixture and continue to puree until no visible chunks remain. (Green bits and dots are okay, but not big, fat chunks.) Add green Tabasco, salt and pepper to  taste.

To hold, pour the sauce from the blender back into the small saucepan and use the lowest low burner setting. Stir the sauce occasionally to keep it from clumping on the bottom. Taste again and re-season as needed. Add a pinch of sugar or squirt of honey if the honey mustard needs a boost. (RL always adds more salt and lots more green Tabasco. Me? not so much.)

Note: for the filled crepes I make the crepes ahead of time, or hold a batch of freshly cooked crepes in a warm oven.  Steam or roast the asparagus, heat the strips of Canadian bacon briefly in the micro, and have the sauce warming below a simmer on the stove. For each crepe, fill, roll and transfer to a plate in a warm oven. Repeat until the crepes and filling are gone. Plate and top with a generous portion of the sauce. Serve extra sauce in a pitcher for those who like their crepes well sauced.

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