May is the month of many great things: my birthday, bank holidays, some sunshine if you’re lucky and also asparagus. On our way down to Cornwall last week we stopped at Trevaskis farm shop near Hayle where we stocked up on supplies for a few days at the beautiful little Snugglers Den cottage near St Just on the very furthest edge of Cornwall making it England’s most Westerly town. I’d been hoping for a bit of ‘pick your own’ action but was told this was off the cards due to the particularly long run of rubbish weather. However the farm shop yielded all kinds of loveliness at pretty reasonable prices (we being Londoners and all). Amongst our bounty of supplies there was wild garlic pesto, Cornish yarg, smoked salmon pâté, really good brown bread, local sausages and a bunch of fat asparagus stalks.
As Lucas Hollweg put it in his food column in last weekend’s Sunday Times, when it’s this fresh asparagus doesn’t need much messing around so here is his recipe for a brilliant and very easy hollandaise. It’s recipe serves 4 greedy asparagus fiends…
- Boil the kettle. In a heavy saucepan, off the heat, whisk together 4 egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of water
- Add 250g chilled butter, cut into cubes (I used lightly salted), put the pan on the lowest possible heat and whisk constantly until the butter melts, carry on whisking until the sauce thickens and basically don’t stop whisking, as soon as it’s thickened remove the pan from the heat. It really is that simple.
- If it splits quickly whisk in 1 tsp boiling water from the kettle and that should bring everything back together.
- Beat in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, salt and pepper, cover the sauce and put to one side somewhere warm until your asparagus is ready
- Now just cook your trimmed asparagus stems in boiling water for about 3-4 minutes if they’re fairly dainty or 6-7 minutes for the thicker woodier ones like mine, drain them and – making sure you don’t let them get cold – immediately start dunking in your sunny yellow hollandaise