Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

asparagus with hollandaise

May 18th, 2012

The Asparagus Season (April 23rd – June 21st in the UK) heralds spring, a whole range of new vegetables and an end to winter. Ideally, asparagus is best served very fresh – mine came from Perry Court Farm and Martin (the farmer) said they were out picking on Saturday night in order to sell it at the Farmers’ Market on Sunday morning. If you buy it from a supermarket it will be at least several weeks old and will have lost a lot of flavour.

Asparagus can be steamed, fried, griddled, poached, added to casseroles, frittata (Hot, Cheap & Easy’s recipe), quiche, soups, stews, etc. I’m quite partial to steaming and recently found that it poaches very well on a barbecue. It’s delicious as a starter with butter, garlic and lemon juice, though my favourite is with Hollandaise Sauce. Hollandaise originally came from the Netherlands (hence the name) and is generally made by mixing egg yolks and butter, with vinegar or lemon juice.

Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce recipe (serves 2):

a bunch of asparagus (about half a pound)
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
a few black peppercorns
a sprinkle of powdered mace
2 free range egg yolks
4 – 5 ounces of butter
a sprinkle of salt

red wine vinegar reduction

Put the red wine vinegar (white wine vinegar is also good and the sauce will look lighter as a result) into a saucepan with the peppercorns, bay leaf and mace. This needs to be reduced until there’s only about a dessertspoonful left. Open the window, this will make your eyes run and you may cough. I once made Hollandaise for 10 people at Christmas, reducing 2 bottles of red wine vinegar and it was most unpleasant (fortunately  a bottle of Stoli got me through the ordeal in one piece)! Once reduced, allow to cool.

steaming asparagus

Steam or boil the asparagus for about 4 -5 minutes in salted water. Test it with a fork to see when it’s tender and be sure not to let it go soggy.

egg yolks and butter

While the asparagus is steaming, mix the two egg yolks with about a quarter of the butter (a big teaspoonful) and a sprinkle of salt, in a glass bowl.

hollandaise sauce

Put the bowl into a saucepan of lukewarm water (a bain-marie) and whisk in the strained vinegar, while heating gently. Do not allow the saucepan of water to get too hot or boil, as the Hollandaise will separate. Whisk in all the remaining butter and check the taste. Hollandaise Sauce should be buttery with a slight tang from the vinegar. If it’s too sharp add more butter and do likewise if it starts to get too thick. When done, pour onto the asparagus and serve immediately.

Asparagus and Hollandaise goes very well with a crisp white wine, such as Mâcon-Villages or Sancerre.

Hollandaise Sauce will also go very well with fish and other vegetable dishes.

About Mad Dog
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26 Responses to Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

  1. Pingback: Duck Egg Frittata with Asparagus (Hen’s Eggs Can Also be Used!) « Hot, Cheap & Easy

  2. sybaritica says:

    If you just parboil the asparagus and then flash-fry it afterward it might be interesting … Not a criticism though… my wife loves boiled asparagus and I really only like it stir-fried so if I try your recipe (and I love the sauce) I might do a compromise.

  3. Looks delicious! I will have to give this a try…always been a bit intimidated, but perhaps the Stoli Solution will work for the nerves as well as the vinegar?

  4. oh Asparagus, how I love thee!!! I love the hollandaise here, YUM!!

  5. Now that takes holland arise to a whole new level!

  6. ChgoJohn says:

    This is a different Hollandaise than I’m used to, MD, but one I have to try. Thanks for the recipe and accompanying warning. Those fumes and my parrot won’t mix. Not to worry. A couple open windows and all will be well.

  7. Oh my you even did the reduction stage and not the cheat´s hollandaise that I do….very impressed! I love asparagus, so glad it´s that time of year 🙂

  8. Audrey Evermore says:

    “A rage of vegetables….. ” … interesting that such a carnivore as you ,Mad Dog, likes to think of his vegetables as having personalities and emotions…. Hollandaise to die for btw.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Ha ha – well spotted and now corrected, though there are people (scientists included) who believe that vegetables have feelings 😉
      I seem to remember that, that was your plate of asparagus!

  9. That looks wonderful and I admire you for making the Hollandaise sauce, something I haven’t done for many years, but I think I may continue with the big, big cheat of eating asparagus with olive oil and chopped garlic!

  10. Tony says:

    get some of the bio-dynamic or organic eggs from the Farmers’ Market, soft boil them and dip your asparagus into the yolk that has been sprinkled with just a little white pepper…. omg! you will love it, better than any sauce you can make, i promise you!

  11. peasepudding says:

    I love asparagus season, when I lived in Germany there was huge festivals to market it’s arrival, which was the white asparagus.

  12. ceciliag says:

    YUM! I just love hollandaise.. and i am most interested in the red wine vinegar reduction.. now I would like to know what other recipes you use this in, it must be amazing.. did you have some Boli as well as Stoli darling!? I am a Boli girl myself in the kitchen.. so the reduction takes hours? I need to go back and read that again.. c

    • Mad Dog says:

      The reduction doesn’t take long for a small amount, but if you have to reduce two bottles of red wine vinegar the Stoli comes in very handy as a medicinal libation 😉
      Did you know that Boli and Stoli are the favourites of James Bond as well as Edina and Patsy!

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