On a little Starfleet ship, thousands of lightyears from home, the character Janeway is a reflection of the themes behind the show – the conflict between tradition and novelty, logic and empathy, hope and despair. While we’ve seen other Starfleet Captains maintaining a stiff upper lip on the Prime Directive and protocols, Janeway possesses a sense of curiosity and wonder that only enhances the appeal of her commanding charm. Whenever the Kazon, the Borg, or even her own crewmen throw the ship into disarray, she handles every situation with sophisticated, yet kindhearted class.
So for today’s recipe, I’ve decided to combine two of Janeway’s favorite dishes. In the first couple episodes Voyager finds itself newly lost in the Delta Quadrant, and having to ration off their replicator supplies. Janeway at one point laments to Chakotay after a ration pack of dehydrated eggs and stewed tomatoes– that she was dreaming of “Eggs Benedict with Asparagus, and Strawberries and Cream”. Later in the series, she encounters the Q Continuum, one of whom tries to bribe her with a dish of “Welsh Rabbit, just like [her] father used to make”.
Another dish using rabbit? You’re probably thinking. Not quite, though keep your attention to this blog around the Game of Thrones series premiere since I will be serving up some spiced rabbit pie. Welsh Rabbit, or better known to classic chefs as “Rarebit”, is a traditional Welsh version of cheese toast. It’s a rich and savory way to start the day with the most calories non-humanly possible. Since it’s commonly made with beer, I used a coffee stout to pay homage to Madame Captain’s brown grit beverage of choice. For this dish, it will be the bread portion for the Eggs Benedict.
Captain Janeway's Welsh Rarebit à la Q
Equipment: Oven or toaster oven, large skillet, biscuit cutters or silicon rings, medium saucepan, pour-able measuring cup, immersion blender or blender.
- 4 cups shredded white cheddar
- 1 Tb unsalted butter
- 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 2 tsp all purpose flour
- 4 Tb coffee stout
- 4 slices sourdough bread, cut on the bias, 1 inch thick
- 16 thick stalks asparagus
- 8 strawberries, sliced
- 4 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 Tb lemon juice, plus more for poaching eggs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Mix cheese, 1 tablespoon butter, flour, mustard powder in the saucepan until mixed. Then stir in the worcestershire sauce and stout, and set on the stovetop on low heat.
- On another burner, heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet on medium-high. When it starts to shimmer, add the asparagus with some tongs. Season with salt and allow to cook while stirring the cheese mixture with a spatula. Turn the asparagus so that both sides are slightly browned. Remove asparagus and keep warm between two plates. Rinse the skillet and fill with about 2 inches of water. Put it back on the stovetop allow it to come to a slow simmer as you prepare the sauce and toast.
- When the cheese sauce has completely melted to a thickish paste, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Set the oven or toaster oven to broil and toast the bread on one side for a few minutes. Remove from oven and spread the cheese mixture on the un-toasted side. Broil for another minute or two before removing from the oven. Arrange toast and asparagus on each plate with half of the strawberries.
- Put silicon rings or biscuit cutters into the skillet with water and crack an egg into each one. Add a splash or lemon juice to each ring and allow to cook. Every once in awhile, top the eggs with spoonfuls of hot water to cook them faster. When the white has solidified enough to mostly cover the yolk, remove the ring. If the eggs stay firm, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and place on top of the cheese toast.
- Put the egg yolks and tablespoon of lemon juice into the blender or container for the immersion blender. Blend on high for about 5 seconds. Microwave the butter in the measuring cup 20-30 seconds at a time until bubbling hot. Blend the egg mixture again on high while slowly pouring the butter in. It should thicken immediately. When fully incorporated, drizzle as much sauce desired on top of egg and asparagus. Top with the remaining strawberries and a dash of black pepper, and serve.