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Asparagus & Quick Hollandaise

1. Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and toss with the olive oil.

2. Preheat a griddle pan. Add the asparagus to the pan and griddle for 2 - 3 minutes then transfer to the oven for a further 3 - 4 minutes or until just cooked.

3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan gently heat the butter. In a separate saucepan bring the wine vinegar and lemon juice to the boil.

4. In a food processor whizz together the egg yolks with a pinch of salt.

5. With the motor running, gradually add the hot lemon juice and vinegar to the egg yolks. Add the hot butter to the processor in a thin trickle, keping the motor running all the time until all the butter is added and the sauce thickened. (This sauce can be kept warm in a bowl over a basin of hot water on in a warmed flask)

6. Divide the asparagus spears between the four plates, grind over a little black pepper and serve each with a pot of warm hollandaise sauce.


EXTRA STUFF ON ASPARAGUS
So its always best to cook as soon as possible as Asparagus does not store well. My first dish is generally enjoyed very simply with melted butter, black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Then, with my craving satisfied, I go on to plunge into as many recipes as I can think of before the season ends! Here are a couple of cooking methods and a few of my favourite dishes that will be making an appearance this year.

STEAMING ASPARAGUS
Using two hands bend the bottom half of each stalk and the tougher base end will naturally snap off between your hands. Use the upper stalk and tips for steaming and reserve the tougher ends for later. Place the asparagus in a steamer or colander over a pan of gently boiling water, cover with a lid and steam for approx. 5 minutes or until the stalks are tender. Thinner stalks will obviously take less time than thicker.

ASPARAGUS WITH LEMON MAYO
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt, a squeeze of lemon juice and some freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with hot, steamed asparagus.

ASPARAGUS SOLDIERS WITH SOFT-BOILED EGGS
Place 4 medium eggs in a medium pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove the eggs, place each in an eggcup and slice the tops open. Season your steamed asparagus with a little melted butter, salt & pepper and serve at once with soft-boiled eggs, dipping the soft, green tips into the runny yellow yolks.

PAN-FRYING ASPARAGUS
Prepare your asparagus as for steaming, then transfer to a bowl and toss with a little virgin olive oil (approx. 1 tablespoon per 450g Asparagus). Preheat a heavy-based frying or griddle pan until hot and add the oiled asparagus. Cook over a medium-high heat for 2 minutes then cover with a lid and cook for a further 4-7 minutes until tender. Alternatively after 2-3 minutes you can transfer the pan to a hot oven.

ASPARAGUS WITH CHERRY TOMATOES AND FETA SERVES 4 AS A STARTER
Pan fry the asparagus as above, season and transfer to a warmed serving plate. Add 225g of cherry tomatoes to the hot pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until starting to soften. Spoon onto the asparagus and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Crumble 110g Woolsery Fiesta Goats Cheese over the top and serve.

ASPARAGUS WITH DENHAY AIR-CURED HAM AND PARMESAN
Wrap each asparagus stalk in a piece of air-cured ham and place in a pre-heated heavy-based frying pan. Cook as above and transfer to a hot serving plate. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, shavings of parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

ASPARAGUS WITH SAGE, LEMON & PARMESAN RISOTTO SERVES 4
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. Add 1 finely chopped onion and gently fry for 10 minutes until softened. Stir in 350g risotto rice, a large curl of lemon zest and a handful of roughly chopped sage leaves and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in 300mls hot chicken stock and simmer until absorbed. Gradually add approx. 900mls more stock, a ladleful at a time. Stirring frequently and allowing each ladle to be absorbed before adding the next. Meanwhile pan-fry 450g asparagus. Season the cooked rice with 25g butter, 55g grated parmesan cheese, a squeeze of lemon juice and salt & freshly ground black pepper. Serve at once, topped with the cooked asparagus.
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Skills Covered
450g / asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
180g (6ox) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 large organic egg yolks
pinch salt
freshly ground black peper
 
Asparagus & Quick Hollandaise
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