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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mushroom and Asparagus Egg Salad with Tarragon Aioli

Back from a short blogging hiatus.

I have no excuses, other than life gets hectic sometimes and something has to go. Sadly, blogging gets easily swept under meetings, events and spending time with friends. Though, rest assured, even in my busiest weeks, I manage to use all the produce in my fridge. I would feel like a failure otherwise. In the weeks that have gone by undocumented, I made falafel from scratch for the first time, learned a lot about balsamic vinegar and the art of cutting veggies on a bias, ate an entire artichoke unabashedly alone, and made the first batch of tabbouleh for the spring.

My foray back into blogging had to be something yummy.The funny thing about this recipe is that it sounds sort of fancy, like it would go for $8 on the menu of a trendy vegetarian hippy cafe in Yellow Springs, OH where I went to school [tear...goodbye antioch!]. But it came together out of pure economic necessity. The veg was on sale, eggs are cheaper than fake chicken nuggets and are a decent source of protein, and aoili is really a code word for thinned out mayo. F-you skyrocketing food prices!

This egg salad is really, really good. I tend to avoid recipes that are heavy in fat, not because I'm particularly health conscious, but because I think its too easy to make anything taste good by adding a half a pound of cheese or butter. The aioli is has the tang of mayo, but isn't all goopy and globular. Lightening up the dressing lets the asparagus and herbs shine.

BTW, I owe a cred to Mark Bittman's blog, where Ed extoles the virtues of "the great duo of asparagus and eggs". I have been drooling over ideas for asparagus egg combo and I think I found "the one"for me.

Mushroom and Asparagus Egg Salad with Tarragon Aioli

6 eggs
1 package fresh mushrooms, sliced thinly and chopped [I just used button. cause they were cheap. Use your favorite! God...can you imagine morels in this?]
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
dash tumeric

For aioli
2 tbsp. mayo
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
a splash of water
1 tsp dried tarragon
sea salt
1/2 clove garlic
fresh mint

boil the 6 eggs. Sautee the asparagus and mushrooms together in a little olive oil or butter until asparagus are tender. Peel the eggs and mash and mix with the veggies [let the veg cool a bit].

For the aioli, whisk together mayo, vinegar and desired amount of water until smooth. If you have a masher [I always forget if its called a morter or a pestle, but it is by far my favorite kitchen tool], mash up the tarragon, garlic and sea salt together to make like an herby paste. This is my new favorite way to use dried herbs like basil, oregano, especially rosemary. It brings out the flavor and crushes them so they are not so "tree bark" like. chop a couple of fresh mint springs finely and add everything to the aioli. mix it all up until smooth, and then pour over the egg and veggie mixture. stir.

The mushrooms gave the whole thing a kind of brown unpleasant color, and to spruce it up a bit, a tried a little bit of tumeric. Actually I tried a lot of tumeric. For some reason I was under the impression that tumeric only added color, not flavor. That is not the case, as it really stands out in this recipe. Not in a bad way though....

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