1 small red onion, diced
2 tablespoons honey
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stick butter, melted
1 pound fresh asparagus spears
2 ounces caviar
I chop my peppers, add them to a heavy bottomed pot with my salted and herbed tomatoes, my diced onions, my honey, and my bay leaf. I set the heat on medium high, and then stab and poke at them relentlessly (probably not necessary, but damn satisfying) until the’ve started to release all their liquids, and the tomatoes have begun to break down. I leave to cook down for an hour.
After said hour, my tomatoes, peppers, and spices have turned into a thick, rich sauce. But this is just step one.
At this point, using my finest screen, I press the contents of my pan into a bowl, separating all the juice and thick pulp from the sinews and skins. This takes me several passes; I try to make sure I’ve squeeze and sieved all the juicy, flavorful goodness that I could from the, well, the chaff.
I move this sweetness to my smallest saucepan, add my minced garlic, stir well, and set over low heat, stirring occaisonally, for the next 2 hours. Basically, I reduce as much liquid out as I can; by the time I’m finished…
I have about 3 tablespoons of a very thick, very rich, very concentrated , very complex spicy sweet tomato paste. NICE. I set this aside for later.
The rest of the meal comes together very quickly. I start with my lovely marlin steaks. They look like fingerprints, don’t they? I marinate these babies in EVOO, fennel seeds, and a splash of lemon juice, for about 20 minutes. I then place them on a rack, over a roasting pan, into my 350 degree oven to roast for 6 minutes per side.
Whereas the tomato/pepperdew paste was the most time consuming part of this meal, the hollandaise is the most technically difficult. (In fact, my first attempt broke; at the last minute, I had to trash the whole separated batch, scream at Clayton while he hurriedly washed the dishes I’d need again, and start all over. Thank Papa Smurf I had a whole dozen eggs to screw up with.) I start by melting a stick of butter, and harvesting 4 yolks from some fresh eggs.
I have a make-shift double-boiler set up; basically, my small saucepan with an inch of water, over while I can set my much larger bowl, in which I…
Whisking constantly, my water barely simmering and *not* touching the bottom of my bowl, I dribble a steady stream of melted butter into my bowl, watching the texture of my sauce thicken and the volume double. If it gets too thick, I add a teaspoon or so of the boiling water from the pan below… this will thin it slightly without breaking. (Well, it worked the second time…)
The final ingredient, which, along with the asparagus and hollandaise, makes this recipe truly a la Oscar, and therefore well suited to the Academy Awards — is crabmeat.
And the final FINAL ingredient, which adds the Hollywood power to my high-brow feast, is caviar. (Admittedly, I wanted black caviar – American paddlefish or sturgeon, maybe – but alas, I couldn’t afford it. Gold it was — this is whitefish.)
A glamorous, colorful, full-bodied meal; a Hollywood shark on a tangy velvety red carpet, wearing a golden cape, draped with money green spears, studded with fancy white crabmeat and crowned with golden caviar. While the Academy Awards march across my TV screen, this award-worthy meal melts across my palate, filling me with inspiration, emotion, and satisfaction – just like a good film, and dinner, should do. Elegant, complicated, yet honest and light – this well-dressed meal would look good gracing anyone’s red carpet – or plate!