Sunday, May 12, 2013

Spring Vegetables with Avgolemeno Sauce

It’s not uncommon for us to make an entire meal of just vegetables. This was one of those meals – fresh broccoli, asparagus, corn, and roasted red potatoes. Good stuff made even better with Greek avgolemeno sauce.

My husband absolutely loves roasted mini red potatoes, so I make them frequently. Usually I just toss them with olive oil before roasting. Sometimes, about 15 minutes before the potatoes are completely tender, I’ll sprinkle on some finely chopped rosemary and garlic, and let them continue cooking.

I divided the broccoli into florets and blanched them in a pot of boiling water for about 1-2 minutes. Then I scooped them out and quickly cooled them in a bowl of ice cube filled water. I did the same with the asparagus, and finally dropped in the corn ears for about 5-6 minutes.

Before starting on the vegetables, I prepared the avgolemeno sauce. I suppose you could call it the Greek version of French hollandaise. It’s a silky and lemony sauce that lends itself to many applications. My mother made it frequently to go with vegetables, and it was a traditional sauce for stuffed grape leaves or stuffed cabbage. It’s also good as a topping for fried fish patties and fillets. And I think it would even work in Eggs Benedict. Although not traditional, it could be gussied up with a sprinkling of chopped fresh dill leaves, chives, or lemon rind zest.

Avgolemeno is simple to prepare and not finicky at all. It uses a roux to create a sauce that can be kept warm for a while and also reheated. It calls for chicken broth, but it’s all about the lemon flavor. So be careful about the broth you use. It must not have a lot of competing flavors. That’s why I only use either Swanson or Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken Broth. Both these brands have light, clean chicken flavor.

The recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups sauce, obviously more than we needed for one meal. But, as I said before, the sauce re-heats well, and I used it again during the week for more vegetables and even for a baked fish supper.

Avgolemeno Sauce (Greek Egg/Lemon Sauce)
(Printable Recipe)

1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup butter
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 eggs, beaten
Juice of two lemons

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour, stirring mixture to blend well. Allow butter/flour mixture to cook and bubble at least 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth, stirring continuously. Cook mixture until thickened. Turn heat to low.

Beat eggs in separate bowl with lemon juice until light and fluffy. Add hot sauce, ladleful by ladleful, to egg mixture. Incorporate at least one-third to one-half of sauce into eggs. Slowly pour back egg/sauce mixture into sauce in pot. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired. Cook over low heat for at least five minutes. Keep warm over very low heat.

Serve with cooked cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, artichokes, stuffed cabbage leaves, stuffed grape leaves, fish patties, and baked or fried fish fillets.

Reheat leftover sauce over very low heat.


Jenny said...

Those veggies have me drooling! And I'm so intrigued by that sauce. Yum.

shambo said...

It's my favorite vegetable sauce and so versatile too.