White Asparagus With Hollandaise Sauce
In Venice last summer I met the lovely and distinguished scientist Dr.
Quigg while eating at a street side restaurant. He’s just sent me
a photo (see blog) of his recent asparagus eating adventure in Germany,
which inspired me to post a recipe for this classic combination.
Basic Asparagus preparation:
Hold the asparagus stalk in both hands and break off the stem end. The
stem will automatically break at the correct place, removing the rough
end. Place asparagus on the work surface and run a vegetable peeler
down all sides of the stem from just under the tip to the end. Repeat
with remaining spears.
Cooking White Asparagus:
I generally cook asparagus in a microwave oven—fast and
impeccable. Alternatively, with white string, I tie them into even
bunches and boil them uncovered in lots of salted water until the point
of a knife just slips into the fat end. Pick them up by the strings;
move them onto a cloth-lined plate and cut the strings. Remove from the
cloth when completely drained.
BOILING: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Drop in prepared
asparagus. Cook 10 minutes. Reduce heat to a low boil. Cook another 10
minutes until asparagus is very tender. Rinse under cold running water
if serving cold or in a salad. For jumbo white asparagus, 1 inch thick,
cook 20 minutes at a rolling boil, then 10 minutes at a low boil. Rinse
under cold running water if serving with an enriched vinaigrette (page
STEAMING: Place prepared asparagus in a single layer in a covered basket. Steam 1 hour or until meltingly tender.
Arrange 2 to 3 layers deep in a glass loaf pan. Add 3 tablespoons
water. Cover tightly. 1 pound bunch, peeled and trimmed = 10 minutes at
Carefully uncover it as soon as it comes out of the oven; wrapped, the
asparagus will continue to steam and can overcook very quickly.
classic accompaniment to fresh asparagus, this is wonderful with other
vegetables, over fish, and as an essential ingredient to Eggs Benedict.
It can be varied as mayonnaise can, with fresh herbs, curry powder, and
different glazes. Instead of eggs Benedict, consider artichoke bottoms
filled with creamed spinach topped with a poached egg and slathered
with the sauce.
1 pound unsalted butter
3 egg yolks
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Keep hot over low heat.
Place egg yolks, mustard, salt and
pepper in the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.
Turn the machine on and let it run for 90 seconds.
With machine still running, slowly
but steadily pour ot butter through the feed tube. The sauce will
thicken until it has the consistency of mayonnaise. When all the butter
has been added, pour in the lemon juice through the feed tube. Stop the
Scrape the sauce into a serving bowl
and serve immediately. If you are not ready to serve, keep the sauce
warm in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Do not let it
get too hot or the butter will separate out of the sauce.
Makes about 2 cups
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