Fresh Asparagus with Foaming Hollandaise
The marriage of asparagus and hollandaise was quite definitely made in heaven, and it seems sad to me that 'health' issues should bring about a divorce.
Therefore I have set out to lighten the sauce somewhat by the addition of stiffly beaten egg whites. I now actually prefer the golden foam to the classic all butter and egg yolk sauce.
If you think the sauce is too difficult to make, take a look at Delia's Cookery School Video where she shows you how easy it is to make it, just click the image to play.
This recipe is from Delia's Summer Collection. Serves 4 as a starter
You can make the sauce at any time: we have tried it chilled overnight in the refrigerator, which makes a nice contrast with the hot asparagus, or you can serve it warm, or even at room temperature.
Begin by placing the egg yolks in a food processor or blender together with some salt, switch on and blend them thoroughly. In a small saucepan heat the lemon juice and vinegar till the mixture simmers, then switch the processor on again and pour the hot liquid on to the egg yolks in a steady stream. Switch off, then in the same saucepan melt the butter – not too fiercely: it mustn't brown. When it is liquid and foaming, switch on the processor once more and pour in the butter, again in a steady, thin stream, until it is all incorporated and the sauce has thickened.
Next, in a small bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and then fold the sauce, a tablespoon at a time, into the egg whites and taste to check the seasoning. When you've done that, it's ready to serve or it can be left till later.
To cook the asparagus: take each stalk in both hands and bend and snap off the woody end, then trim with a knife to make it neater. Lay the asparagus stalks on an opened fan steamer (or an ordinary steamer will do) – they can be piled one on top of the other. Season with salt, place them in a frying pan or saucepan, pour in about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of boiling water from the kettle, then put a lid on and steam for 4-6 minutes.
Serve the hot asparagus with some sauce poured over the tips, and don't forget to have finger bowls and napkins at the ready.