Classic French Asparagus with Hollandaise

April 16, 2015

Asparagus with hollandaise is a classic French dish that is perfect for spring.  This simple yet elegant side dish can served at any meal of the day.  Sometimes, I like to prepare asparagus benedict by serving the bright green spears on a toasted English muffin with a poached egg and homemade hollandaise sauce. 

Asparagus with Hollandaise

Ingredients:

1 to 2 bunches thin asparagus (about 30 spears)*
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
kosher salt and freshly ground white (or black) pepper to taste

Directions:

Step 1: Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil over high heat.  Once boiling, generously season the water with salt. 

Step 2: In a small stainless steel bowl, whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice until doubled in volume.  Place the bowl over a saucepan with gently simmering water (use low heat).  Make sure that the water does not reach the bottom of the bowl or you will over cook your sauce.  Continue to whisk the eggs while also adding the melted butter in a slow yet steady stream.  This may be a two person job.  The mixture should form one cohesive sauce.  Remove from heat immediately and season with salt and pepper.  Put the sauce in a warm place while you prepare the asparagus.

Step 3: Trim the asparagus.  Snap the woody end of the stalk.  Use the natural break as a guide to trim all the other asparagus in the bunch.  This will save you time.  Cook the asparagus in the boiling water for 1 to 3 minutes until tender.  Drain and dunk the asparagus into ice cold water.  This stops the cooking and sets the bright green color.  Drain the asparagus again and pat dry with a paper towel if necessary.

Step 4:  Serve the warm asparagus with the hollandaise over top.

*Note:  Pencil thin asparagus are best for this recipe because they are roughly the same thickness throughout the stock.  If you opt to use thicker asparagus, you will have to peel them.  If you do not mind adding a step, then this is not really an issue.

**Note: The dish pictured wraps the asparagus in Black Forest Ham and serves this dish with roasted new potatoes.  Feel free to include these additions.  

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