We probably grow the finest asparagus in the world and the British season is the highlight of the foodie calendar. The first spears appear at the end of April and the season lasts just eight weeks. Asparagus is great served al dente with nothing but drawn butter but, for a change and when you feel like something a little more substantial, this recipe makes a great lunch. You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.
- 36 asparagus spears, trimmed
- 6 duck eggs
- 100 gm unsalted butter
- To garnish: chervil
- 100 ml white wine vinegar
- 10 white peppercorns
- 4 parsley stalks
- 1 golden shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp white wine
- 3 egg yolks
- Juice of ½ lemon
- To taste: cayenne pepper
- 250 gm clarified butter, at room temperature
- 1To make Hollandaise, place vinegar, peppercorns, parsley stalks and shallot in a pan and reduce by half. Leave for 24 hours to infuse, then add wine and 50ml water and strain. Place egg yolks in a bowl with lemon juice, then add salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Whisk together, then gradually whisk in strained vinegar reduction until an emulsion has formed. Whisk egg mixture in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Slowly add clarified butter a little at a time, whisking vigorously between each addition. Whip until a good emulsion has formed and sauce is thick and forms ribbons (5-10 minutes). Set aside and keep warm.
- 2Cook asparagus spears in plenty of boiling salted water until firm and crunchy (3 minutes). Meanwhile, fry duck eggs in either a blini pan or a small frying pan to get an even round shape. If you don’t have a small pan, use a large frying pan and, once the egg is cooked and the white is set, use a round cookie-cutter to form an even circle.
- 3To serve, roll asparagus spears in a little butter. Take 6 warmed plates, place 6 spears in the middle of each, with the tips facing away from you, then place duck eggs at the bottom of the spears. Finally, spoon over the warmed Hollandaise, season to taste and garnish with chervil.
Note This recipe is from Marco Pierre White's Great British Feast (Orion, $55, hbk). In editing this recipe for publication we have made minor changes to bring it into Gourmet Traveller style.