Poached Eggs on Hops
A specialty of Antwerp, from A Taste of the Belgian Provinces, (The Tuesday Group, Brussels, 1992).
8 ounces hop shoots
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Wash the hop shoots and place in a 2-quart saucepan, filled with salted, boiling water. Add lemon juice and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Refresh hops under cold water briefly to restore their color, and place in a warmed serving dish. Dot with butter.
3. Bring a skillet full of water to a simmer. Stir in a few drops of vinegar. Poach the eggs for approximately 5 to 6 minutes, or until yolks are just firm.
4. Place the poached eggs on top of the hop shoots, and serve with hot toast. Yields 4 servings.
Endive and Hop Gratin
12 large endive leaves, washed and drained
6 slices Bayonne ham, cut in half lengthwise
12 wedges Trappist cheese, such as Chimay, or good quality beerkase
4 ounces hop shoots, chopped into 1/2-inch lengths
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Wrap a ham slice around a wedge of cheese, and place in the center cavity of a leaf of endive; place in a buttered baking dish. Repeat until all endive leaves are stuffed with ham and cheese and arranged in the baking dish.
2. Blanch the hop shoots in boiling salted water for 2 minutes; drain in a fine mesh colander or sieve. When cool enough to handle, sprinkle over the endive casserole.
3. Make a bŽchamel sauce by melting the butter in a large nonstick skillet. When butter is bubbling, whisk in the flour and cook until lightly browned and aromatic. Slowly whisk in the milk, stirring well to remove lumps. Cook until slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Pour the bŽchamel sauce over the endives, and bake the casserole at 350 degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted and browned.
4 ounces diced hop shoots
4 ounces water
1 ounce capers
4 ounces diced celery
4 ounces diced sweet onion
3 ounces diced red bell pepper
1 ounce chopped sundried tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced thyme
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Olive oil and lemon juice to taste
1. Steam the hop shoots in water, in a microwave-safe dish, heated on "high" setting for 4 minutes. Drain and let cool.
2. Blend the other ingredients, and stir in the hops. Yields 1 1/2 cups of crunchy relish, perfect for topping deli sandwiches or toasted cheese bruschetta.