Every few months or so, my friends Bill and Rebecca host a “Top Chef” dinner competition that’s actually more in line with “Iron Chef.” A secret ingredient is unveiled, and two teams of friends brainstorm to devise a menu featuring that ingredient in each dish before venturing out to the local grocery store.
Upon return, kitchen chaos ensues. Each team scrambles to grab the kitchen tools they require or, as often is the case, improvising when those tools – or stove burners or even counter space – are already in use.
Most recently, the teams tackled coconut. Although plantain and coconut crusted fish wowed its way to the top of the judges’ list, I walked away obsessed with marinated grilled asparagus (Bill’s genius) dipped in a lime-coconut hollandaise (I made it, but have no idea who on my team came up with the idea).
I tweaked things a bit once I got around to recreating the addictive side dish at home, marinating the asparagus in lime, rather than lemon, juice to reflect that the unique hollandaise itself included lime, rather than the traditional lemon. As for the hollandaise, I added a bit of ginger to the mix and infused a bit more (but still subtle) coconut flavor by using coconut oil rather than butter. Whether grilled outdoors or oven-roasted indoors, this is my new favorite way to consume asparagus by the bunch.
And yes, I do mean I’ve consumed that much of this asparagus in one sitting as an inadvertent entree, relegating the intended entree to Next Day’s Lunch.
However, for the more moderate among you, I’d highly recommend serving several hollandaise-drizzled spears alongside plantain and coconut crusted fish or, for a vegetarian meal, plantain and coconut fritters (recipes to come soon).
Serves 2 to 4
1 bunch asparagus
juice from 1 lime
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Lime-Coconut Milk Hollandaise (for dipping/drizzling; prepare in advance per recipe below)
Remove the woody end of each asparagus stalk (usually the bottom 1 1/2 inches). Peel off the outer layer of the bottom third of each stalk (this allows the marinade to seep in more effectively). Toss asparagus with lime juice, salt and pepper, and let marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.
To Grill: Preheat grill to high heat. Turning every few minutes to ensure even browning, grill asparagus until charred and barely fork tender, about 5 to 10 minutes (depending on thickness of the spears).
To Roast in Oven: Preheat oven to 400F. Spread asparagus in a single layer across a baking sheet. Roast until barely browned and fork tender, about 7 to 10 minutes or a bit longer depending on the thickness of the spears.
Serve hot, drizzled or dipped in Lime-Coconut Milk Hollandaise.
Lime-Coconut Milk Hollandaise
3 egg yolks
juice from 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp.)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated with microplane zester
4 oz. coconut milk
3 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted (can substitute butter)
salt and pepper
Fill a small pot with an inch of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer.
Meanwhile, in a medium heatproof bowl, whisk egg yolks until thick and creamy. Stir in the lime juice and grated ginger, and place bowl over the pot of simmering water. Continue to stir until bottom of bowl is visible when you stir, which indicates that egg yolks have begun to cook. Slowly whisk in the coconut milk and melted coconut oil. Taste, and add salt and pepper as desired.
Do ahead: can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and stored in airtight, refrigerated container. Bring to room temperature or heat slightly in microwave before serving.