Spring Grill
Ron Eade
Omnivore's Ottawa

Ron Eade
Ron Eade is an unabashed omnivore
who’s been stuffing food into his mouth for as long as he remembers.
He is Food Editor at the Ottawa Citizen
 and lives with his wife and doting teenage son.

Photos and Videos by Lois Siegel

Omnivore’s Barbecued Asparagus
with Eggs Benedict and Hollandaise Sauce

Serves 2

- 8 spears fresh asparagus
- Salt, pepper
- 2 wooden kebab skewers, soaked 60 minutes in water
- 1 teaspoon (15 mL) balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons (25 mL) olive oil

For the hollandaise sauce
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) cold water
- Juice 1/2 fresh lemon
- 1 cup (250 g) unsalted butter, melted in a heatproof glass measuring cup with spout,
   then cooled to comfortable temperature (not hot)
- Salt, to taste
- Cayenne pepper, to taste

For the eggs
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vinegar
- 1 English muffin, sliced and halves toasted
- 2 slices sandwich ham
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) grated cheddar cheese

1. For the asparagus, wash spears, trim off 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the woody end,
    and peel the bottom half of each stalk, like a carrot. Season with salt, pepper,
    and skewer each about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the end of wooden skewers,
    turning the skewer like a drill when piercing to avoid splitting the asparagus.
    Skewer 4 stalks on each. Sprinkle lightly with balsamic vinegar,
    then brush with olive oil; set aside.

Asparagus Video

2. Preheat gas grill to medium-high. Make ready a small non-stick fry pan for poaching
    by half-filling with water, then add vinegar. Also make ready a double boiler
    by pouring water 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) deep into a medium saucepan,
    and placing a large stainless steel mixing bowl nearby.

3. Grill asparagus skewers until florets start to char, flipping once or twice while cooking,
    about 5 minutes total. When done, extinguish burners and set asparagus aside indoors.
    Heat water in fry pan and saucepan to simmer.

  Grilling Video

4. Make the hollandaise sauce by placing egg yolks in stainless steel mixing bowl.
    Whisk yolks together with cold water; rest bowl on mouth of simmering saucepan
    and continue whisking while holding bowl steady with your free hand.
    Bowl should never be too hot to hold comfortably. Periodically remove and return bowl
    from/to heat as you continuously whisk, to ensure sauce does not overheat
    and “scramble” the egg. As the sauce thickens, take off heat and blend in
    about 1/4 of the cooled, melted butter, whisking constantly.
    Add half the lemon juice to thin sauce, then add more butter. Return to heat,
    whisking constantly; as it thickens again add remaining lemon juice and butter,
    leaving behind the milky-white sediment. Season with salt, cayenne pepper,
    and set aside. This process should take 8 to 10 minutes, and the sauce
    should now have the texture of cream.

Hollandaise Video

5. For the eggs, poach them about 4 minutes in simmering water,
    or until they are done to your liking.

6. To assemble the plate, place half an English muffin on each plate,
     and four grilled asparagus spears to one side. On each muffin half, place 1 slice of ham,
     followed by a poached egg. Spoon hollandaise sauce on asparagus and egg,
     then top egg with grated cheddar.

Final Touches: Eggs Benedict

Omnivore’s Cedar-Planked Grilled Camembert

Each cheese wheel serves 4 as appetizer

-1 plank untreated western cedar, about 3/4-inch (2-cm) thick, 7 inches (18 cm) wide
 and 14 inches (36 cm) long
- 1 or 2 wheels of camembert cheese, each about 170 grams
-Crackers, for serving

For savoury topping
-1 green onion, chopped fine
- 1 large clove garlic, smashed and minced
-2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt, pepper to taste

For sweet topping
- 1/4 cup strawberry or raspberry jam
- 3 large strawberries, or small handful raspberries, chopped
-about 10 blueberries, chopped
- 1 tablespoon spicy barbecue sauce

1. Soak untreated cedar overnight in a bucket of water, weighed down to keep it submerged.

2. Prepare savoury or sweet topping, or both, by mixing all ingredients in separate
    savoury and sweet bowls, crushing large pieces of fruit, as the case may be, with a fork.

3. Preheat gas grill to 400 or 450 degrees F.  With a sharp chef’s knife,
    barely shave off the top crust on each cheese wheel,
    then spoon topping(s) on top of the cheese.

4. Outside beside the grill, have ready a pair of thick, fireproof barbecue gloves,
    one spray water bottle if needed to quench flames,
    and a large heatproof container to hold the smouldering cedar plank
    when cheese is done.

5. Place soaked plank on the grill; close lid until the plank is smoking well, about 5 minutes.
    When smoking, transfer cheese wheel(s) with topping to the cedar plank,
    close lid, reduce heat to medium and bake about 10 minutes,
    until cheese is melted and just starts to turn golden at edges.
    Temperature in the barbecue chamber should not fall below 400 degrees F.
    Periodically open the barbecue lid to inspect - if there are flames,
   spray briefly with water and close lid.

6. When done, put on barbecue gloves and transfer cheese while still on the smouldering plank
     to a fireproof platter. Serve immediately with crackers.

Food Fiends

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