For 30 years, Auberge du Soleil has stood sentinel over Napa Valley’s Silverado Trail. The tiered luxury resort’s acclaimed restaurant (a 2011 Wine Enthusiast 100 Best Wine Restaurants pick) has Executive Chef Robert Curry at the helm, combining classic French technique with pristine, locally sourced ingredients to create uniquely refined dishes. A case in point is his asparagus appetizer with oceanic hamachi, a perfectly poached egg and salty Niçoise olive tapenade. Key, says Curry, is making sure dishes feature underlying flavors that directly match the wine varieties with which they’re being paired.
Asparagus with Poached Egg, Hamachi and Tapenade
Recipe courtesy Robert Curry, executive chef, Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford, CA
Salt, to taste
2 bunches asparagus, divided
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
4 large eggs
Fleur de sel, to taste
12 ounces hamachi fillet, thinly sliced
Tapenade (recipe follows)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Fill a bowl with ice water. Use a vegetable peeler to shave thin strips of asparagus from two asparagus spears. Submerge the shaved asparagus in the ice water and reserve. Peel the remaining asparagus spears. Cook the peeled asparagus in boiling water until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the asparagus from the water, drain and divide among four plates.
Add the vinegar to the water and reduce boil to a low simmer. Crack each of the eggs into small individual cups. Carefully transfer the eggs, one at a time, into the water and poach until the whites are cooked, but before the yolk is set, about 4–5 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon, drain and place an egg atop each bunch of asparagus. Season the eggs with fleur de sel. Place the hamachi atop the eggs and season with fleur de sel. Garnish with tapenade and shaved asparagus. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
¼ pound Niçoise olives, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
½ Meyer lemon, wedged, seeded and sliced
6 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
2 anchovy filets, rinsed and chopped
½ ounce capers, rinsed and chopped
Mix all of the ingredients together until fully incorporated. Serve or store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 10 days.