by Bo Simmons -
The arrival of bundles of asparagus on the supermarket shelves made me think of my time at Burrastow house and heralds the first taste of summer.I loved to go into the warmth of the polytunnel and cut the first spears.The large amount of space that asparagus takes to grow and the very short season, means that not many people grow it . People may also not be aware that the health benefits of this delicious vegetable are astounding. Asparagus can detoxify the system, help with the anti-aging process, protect against cancer,reduce pain and inflammation,reduce risk of heart disease, prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, help prevent birth defects and last but not least is considered an aphrodisiac! Packed into these spears is Potassium,Vitamins A and K , Folate, Glutathione-amino acid antioxidant, fibre and they are low in sodium . So as you can see the rewards outweigh the disadvantages!
The first asparagus I grew from seed and had to wait 5 years for the first edible spear.Of course, I became impatient and bought a few crowns to speed things up! Sadly , for the last ten years I have not had the access to a polytunnel nor have I asparagus any more,so I have had to resort to buying them from suppliers South or the local supermarkets and only when in season. However,I was fortunate enough to be in conversation with a fellow gardener who mentioned that he had been picking good quantities of asparagus from his tunnel, so although he has stopped cutting his now I have been able to take a photograph of this noble plant .
The short season coincides with the time that hens start to lay larger quantity of eggs so the happy combination makes it possible to create one of my favourite dishes.
Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce
Servings: 4 people
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Unsalted butter - 110 grams (melted)
- Mustard - 1/2 tsp (Dijon)
- Lemon - 1 tbsp (juice only)
- Asparagus - 2 bunches (fresh, seasonal)
- First trim the asparagus, the easiest way to do this is to hold the main stem and from the bottom snap, where it naturally snaps. This will remove any woody parts.
- Place in the top part of the steamer and leave to one side
- In a glass bowl or the part of the steamer that has no holes, place the egg yolks with the mustard,lemon juice and small amount salt and pepper. With a balloon whisk blend well together.Melt the butter (this could be done in the microwave or a small pouring saucepan)
- Turn on the steamer, steam the asparagus , place the glass bowl on top of the steamer and start to pour the melted butter in a steady stream onto the egg yolks, whisking all the time. As soon as it begins to thicken, remove from the heat.If the mixture gets too hot you will get scrambled egg not a delicious sauce! (if it starts to separate, then remove from the heat immediately and whisk in a couple of ice cubes,this will lower the temperature fast and save your sauce)
- Check the asparagus with the tip of a knife, it should still have a little bite. Drain and put onto a warm plate.
- Check your sauce for seasoning and lemon juice.Pour the sauce into a small bowl,or over the top of the asparagus and serve.