Recipe for Asparagus With Avgolemono Sauce
Drizzle steamed asparagus with the lusciously silky, brightly citrusy Greek sauce, which comes together in no time.
A Greek avgolemono sauce is a reminder of the simple wonder of cooking. Whenever I whip one up, I feel like I am making magic. By applying an easy technique to a few everyday ingredients — egg ("avgo," in Greek), lemon juice and broth — you get a lusciously silky, tangy sauce that turns just about any cooked vegetable, fish or poultry into an elegant dish, and in a healthful way, to boot.
To make it, you whisk together an egg and a couple of tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, optionally adding a little cornstarch for a thicker, more stable sauce. While continuing to whisk, slowly add some simmering broth to temper the egg. (I used chicken broth in the accompanying recipe, but vegetable broth works too, as would fish stock if you were serving over seafood.) Then pour the tempered egg mixture into the pot containing the remaining hot broth, stirring constantly, until it has thickened into a glossy, pale-yellow sauce. The transformation is fast and stunning, and the process is not at all difficult. It just needs your attention for about five minutes, stirring and regulating the heat so the mixture doesn't come to a boil and coagulate.
It's so quick and simple that even if you somehow mess it up the first time, you can just whip up another one, barely missing a beat. Although the sauce feels right any time of year, its pastel color and bright flavor are especially well suited for spring and for gracing another staple of the season: steamed asparagus.
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Asparagus With Avgolemono Sauce
Avgolemono is a lusciously silky, brightly citrusy Greek sauce made with egg and lemon juice that can be drizzled liberally over anything from vegetables and poultry to fish. It takes just 5 minutes to whip up, and it's healthful to boot. Here, it turns simple steamed asparagus into a truly elegant dish.
⅓ cup no-salt-added chicken broth
1 large egg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1 bunch (14 to 16 ounces) asparagus, tough ends trimmed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish
Bring about 2 inches of water to a rapid boil in a large pot fitted with a collapsible metal steamer.
Heat the broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat; once it bubbles at the edges, reduce the heat to low.
Whisk the egg in a medium bowl until foamy, then add the lemon juice and cornstarch, whisking until incorporated. Gradually add 2 tablespoons of the hot broth to the egg mixture, constantly whisking to incorporate.
Pour the tempered mixture into the saucepan with the remaining broth (over low heat); cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes, to form a lightly thickened sauce. Remove from the heat, stir in the salt and cover to keep warm.
Place the asparagus spears in the steamer basket, cover and steam for 3 to 6 minutes (depending on their thickness), until crisp-tender.
Serve the asparagus drizzled with the sauce and garnished with the parsley leaves.
Source: nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger