Three is the lucky number, three reasons to celebrate!
Today is St George’s Day the 23rd of April, the patron saint of England and yet we don’t really celebrate it very much, perhaps because more than any other part of the UK we are going through a process of trying to define (or redefine) what it means to be English in 2018. This day also happens to mark the 3rd anniversary of this blog, and the blog has recently passed the 3,500,000 hits in three years, so a big thank you to all the people who visit Chef Kevin Ashton!
But the third reason to celebrate is that April 23rd marks the beginning of the asparagus season, which is particularly important in the area that I live, called Worcestershire. So here we have a quick recipe, that lets the asparagus shine.
Ingredients (serves 2)
300g Fresh local Asparagus
3 large egg yolks
125g melted unsalted butter
2Tbsp white wine
1Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 small lemon
4-5 basil leaves* (not too big)
- line the Asparagus up and trim off from the bottom about 1.5 inches (4cm) so that all of the spears are the same length. Then take a sharp peeler and peel the bottom 1 inch (2.cm) of each spear.
- In a heatproof bowl combine the eggs yolks, white wine and white wine vinegar sit the bowl over a saucepan of very hot water that is on a low heat.
- Whisk the egg mixture continuously until it is very thick and creamy. It is important to make sure you are moving all the egg mixture, so it does not begin to turn into scrambled eggs! Scrape the mixture from the sides and the bottom of the bowl as you whisk. If you think the mixture is getting too hot then remove the bowl from your saucepan. This process may take 10-15 minutes when whisking by hand.
- Gradually, begin to slowly add the melted butter into to your egg mix, then whisk until the butter is fully beaten in before adding more. By the time you have incorporated all of the butter, your Hollandaise should be thick as a mayonnaise.
- Finely chop up the basil leaves and add to the sauce, then squeeze a little of the lemon and lime juice until you have a good coating consistency. Then season lightly with salt and black pepper. Cling wrap your hollandaise sauce and keep warm.
- Bring a large pan of lightly, salted water to a rolling boil and cook the asparagus spears for 2-3 minutes, then drain well on paper towel.
Divide the Asparagus between two warm plates a serve with your warm citrus hollandaise.
*If basil leaves you have are large then try adding some of the chopped basil and then taste. You can always add more but you can’t take it back out. The flavour should be a marriage of tastes so that no one element overpowers the rest.
Extra Asparagus Tips
If you plan to keep your Asparagus for a few days, keep it fresh by placing it in a jug or vase with 1inch of the stems in water.
Often thicker Asparagus spears need to be trimmed because they are too woody, but you can keep them for soup or sauces.
Boil thin stalks for 2 minutes, medium stalks for 3 minutes, and thick stalks for 4 minutes in salted water.