I don’t have a lot of pleasant memories from growing up, but there’s one that always stands out to me. On occasion, when I was little, my father would take me with him to some of his treks into Dalaran. I remember the smell of old tomes, the crackle of arcane in the air, and how important everyone looked and felt. Acting as my father’s apprentice, I felt important too.
We would always lunch in the Purple Parlor, and while my father would always get something more exotic, like bovine steak or seared scallops with a nice wine of the appropriate color, I always wanted the same thing.
I always wanted Dalaran rolls.
Now, full disclosure, I don’t know what the actual name is. My Common was just… abysmal then, but my father knew what I wanted and would order it for me. In it’s most basic form, it’s a cured ham, stuffed with a citrus cream filling, wrapped around Crystalsong asparagus and topped with a yellow sauce I’ve been told is called ‘hollandaise’.
And… since I didn’t know it’s name, I had no way to get the actual recipe. That and without my father, the Purple Parlor is a bit out of my price range. By like. A whole lot. A whole lot. So I had to come up with this recipe from memory.
Let’s see how I did.
So before we start, I wanna point out a few things. This recipe can be as simple or as complex as you make it. For part of the filling, I use lemon zest — you can absolutely substitute lemon pepper instead. If you’re too afraid to make your own hollandaise (and don’t be, because I’ll show you the easy way!) you can use premade or ask your local Colin to make it for you. If you wanna use fancier ham than I did, go right ahead, I used what I had available in the Keg. Don’t ever be afraid to modify.
So! To make it exactly how I made it, you will need: 1 lemon. If you’re making your own hollandaise, zest it first and we’ll use that in place of lemon pepper. If you’re not, you can just sub lemon pepper. You’ll need about a pound (500g) of sliced ham for this recipe, however this doubles pretty easily. 4 oz (110g) each of cream cheese and soured cream, 1 lb (500g) of asparagus of most varieties (originally Crystalsong, but for this I used Menethil), and if you’re making your own sauce, you want three raw eggs and 1 stick of butter (.5 cup or 110g again). You’ll also want about 2-3 hard boiled eggs for garnish.
First, preheat your oven to 400F/200C and prepare your asparagus. You want to cut about an inch off the bottom part of all of them. The reason is that these things grow out of the ground really weird, and when they’re harvested, they kinda grow like a scab or a scar and make it super tough. So cut that shit right out!
Then cut the stalks in half. This both helps stretch the asparagus (which let’s be real, it’s not always the most cost-effective plant, let’s get what we can from it) and also helps it to fit whatever cut of ham you’re using.
Next, combine the cream cheese and sour cream in a bowl. Forget to take a picture of this step, or perhaps assume that people know what two white goops look like when turned into one white goop twice the size. If you’re planning not to use the lemon, this is where you’d add lemon pepper. Use a generous tablespoon, you’ll want more than you think. If you ARE, use a microplane or maybe a druid’s cat claws and start shaving the lemon.
Colin informs me that the accurate term for this is ‘zesting’. I like that word. Thank you Colin.
Getting zesty lemon zest to zest up your zesty rolls (shit, better name) isn’t hard, but you need to make sure you get only the yellow zest part off. Beneath that is the white pith, which aside from being a lot less fun to say than ‘zest’ can be bitter and sorta fuck up the whole taste you’re going for. It’s not bad per se, but it’s not the level of Extra we’re going for.
You can also throw in some onion powder, black pepper and garlic powder at this point. Maybe about a teaspoon each, I actually didn’t measure I just kinda hucked it in there without thinking, as I am a professional flavor-hucker.
Now mix it all up and your filling is ready. I like to let this sit for a little bit, so stick it in the chill-box so the flavors can get to know each other while you get your asparagus ready.
Now, one amazing thing about asparagus is that it loves you as much as you love it. It just likes to show that love in a kinda gross manner, reminding you when you’re in the loo later that you did, in fact, spend a wonderful meal together with it. Like a clingy ex, you can’t escape it. Unlike a clingy ex, you can cut it down a little and it won’t last long anyhow. That metaphor is starting to get away from me.
So, unlike the name suggests, Blanching does not involve handing the vegetables to a not-so-friendly urchin named Blanche and demanding that she make them tastier. The result is not at all what you anticipated and is a bit more violent and unpleasant.
Instead, bring a pan of water to a rolling boil, and then toss in the asparagus. Cook for about three minutes or until they’re bright green, then put them immediately into an ice bath.
This accomplishes a few things — it make them tender but still crisp, and it seems to leech out some of the asparagus stuff that makes it all… Yeah.
Chill them, then go ahead and drain them because now it’s time to prepare.
Take a ham slice and just about halfway up, add a healthy layer of the cream cheese mix. Lay some asparagus pieces on it. For thin asparagus, use about two spears worth, for thicker you can get away with one. This translates to either two tops and two bottoms, or a top and a bottom.
Then, roll it up away from you and set it in a casserole dish to bake.
Now, put them into the preheated oven for 15 minutes to put a nice color on the ham. Meanwhile, we start on the hollandaise.
So hollandaise has a reputation for being very difficult to do. I was pretty anxious to try this and was wholly expecting to mess up terribly. Luckily, I found a really easy way to make this that is pretty fool-proof.
First, using a small saucepan, get your butter melting. Use low heat, we don’t want anything too hot for this.
Remember that naked lemon? Cut it in half, we’re going to want its juice. And take the three eggs and keep only the yolk part of them. You can accomplish this by cracking it carefully in half and cupping the yolk in one side, while letting the white fall into a dish below. Pass it back and forth between the shells until you get all of them.
The extra whites can be cooked later, or used as suppliment to worg-food. Oshu LOVES eggs in all forms.
Now, squeeze the juice into the yolks and whip them up real good.
Mix them up really really well, then throw in some garlic powder, some salt, some onion powder and a dash of paprika.
Now for the cheater part. Slowly — and I mean slowly! – add the melted butter into the yolk mix while beating it. You don’t want the butter to cause the eggs to cook too fast. Now, I’ve seen that the residual heat of the butter will make this thicken on its own, but I was either unlucky or impatient, cuz once all the butter was mixed in, it was still thin. So what did I do?
That’s right! Back in the pan! With just a tiny bit of heat and about a minute of whisking, it thickened up into a delicious, creamy sauce.
Once the oven is done, all that’s left to do is plate! Coarsely chop up the hardboiled egg, spoon some sauce onto the rolls, and garnish with the egg.
The end result is fresh, citrusy and delicious and reminds me of better times.
- 1 lb sliced ham (not honey, about 500g)
- 1 lb asparagus (500g) trimmed
- 4 oz (113g) cream cheese
- 4 oz (113g) sour cream
- 1 lemon, juice and zest (or lemon pepper)
- 2-3 hardboiled eggs for garnish
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 stick (.5 cup or 113 g) butter
- Garlic powder, onion powder and paprika (to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C
- Mix sour cream and cream cheese
- Zest the lemon into the mix
- Add garlic and onion, then chill
- Trim the asparagus and blanch
- In each slice of ham, add about 1 Tbsp of the mix near the middle. Lay asparagus into the mix and roll up
- Repeat until you’re out of room in the pan or out of ingredients
- Bake 15 minutes
- Begin the sauce by melting 1 stick of butter on low heat in a saucepan
- Separate 3 eggs and beat
- Juice the previously zested lemon into the yolk mix
- Add garlic, onion, paprika and salt to taste
- Mix again
- SLOWLY add the melted butter while stirring constantly
- Once combined, return to saucepan and slowly heat while whisking until thick
- Ladle the sauce on the rolls and garnish with chopped hard boiled eggs
- Enjoy with a tall glass of nostalgia