Cooking - Ode to Asparagus

Asparagus - I'm lovin' it...how to blanch, grill and anoint asparagus in silky hollandaise sauce...

Asparagus with hollandaise sauce, poached eggs and slow roasted tomato.
It's spring!! And that means asparagus at the market - time for poached eggs and lashings of hollandaise sauce. The best it is stabbing your poached eggs with the asparagus spears and getting egg yolk everywhere..nom!

Perfect Poached Eggs

  • Use a large, deep frying pan (10cm is good) to poach your eggs and fill it almost to the top with water. Add 2 teaspoons of vinegar and bring to the boil. 
  • Turn the water down to a gentle simmer - so that the water is bubbling like champagne rather than a jaccuzzi on full
  • Use the freshest eggs possible when poaching. 
  • Break your egg (or two) into a small dish or mug first - this is your chance to remove any shell that sneaked through. If the yolk breaks put the egg aside for another recipe and break another egg. 
  • Gently slide the egg into the water
  • Cook for 1-3 minutes until you can lift the egg out of the water and all the albumen (the white bit) is cooked through but the yolk is still dark and liquid. If it's still clear and wobbly slip the egg back into it's bubble bath for another minute
  • Remove from the water and drain through the spoon. Sit the egg on a paper towel for a minute to absorb excess water then move onto your serving plate.
Blanching Asparagus

  • If you want to save time, blanch your asparagus in your water before you poach your eggs
  • Snap the woody ends off the asparagus - as you bend the stems they'll give at the base where the woody part starts. 
  • Put the asparagus into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the feel soft on the outside but firm on the inside when you stab them with a knife.
  • Remove from the water and place quickly into a colander and run some cold water over the to stop them cooking. 
  • You can either reheat the asparagus in hot water, serve them cold or I prefer to reheat the asparagus in a fry pan with a knob of butter, some crushed garlic and lemon juice. Serve with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce for a super sophisticated breakfast or add a fillet of steak topped with blue cheese for an indulgent dinner. 

Grilled Asparagus with Bacon

This is a vege dish for the BBQ that even the boys will eat!!
  • Snap the woody ends off the asparagus - as you bend the stems they'll give at the base where the woody part starts.
  • Wind a piece of streaky bacon tightly around each asparagus stem
  • Cook your asparagus on the BBQ for 2-3 minutes until the bacon is crisp and serve with hollandaise sauce

Hollandaise Sauce

225g butter, melted to a liquid
3 egg yolks
2 T hot water
1.5 T lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of mustard powder

  • Whisk egg yolks in a small saucepan (sitting on the bench). Keep whisking and add the lemon juice
  • Slowly pour in the melted butter followed by the hot water while still whisking
  • Place the saucepan over a low heat and keep whisking until the mixture thickens. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.
  • Serve immediately or keep warm until serving

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