The higher quality and fresher the ingredients, the better the result. When showcasing an ingredient, it’s important to search out the best of the best! This means a trip to the farmers market or a well-stocked grocery store with a great produce department. I’m lucky to have many farmer’s markets nearby. I hope you do, too!

Equipment

  • Measuring spoons
  • Large skillet or sauté pan
  • Tongs
  • Toaster

Mise en Place

  • 20 to 30 asparagus stalks
  • 6 slices of homemade-style multi-grain or white bread
  • ½ cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Step by Step

  • Prepare the asparagus: Wash and snap off the woody stems of the stalks if they are thick. Trim the bottoms and peel the bottom half of the stalk. If you’re using pencil-thin asparagus, simply trim the bottoms. Cut to the size of the toast. Set aside.
  • Boil the asparagus until just al dente, firm. Test it by putting the tip of a knife through the center of one; when it is done, place it in an ice bath. Drain it and place it on a tea towel or paper towel. This method allows the asparagus to retain its lovely green color. Start on your hollandaise sauce
  • Gently heat the asparagus in ½ teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Toast the bread. Spread the butter on the toast. Be sure to spread to the corners.
  • Layer the warm asparagus to the toast; Add an extra layer if the asparagus is thin.
  • Ladle a ¼ cup or more of warm hollandaise sauce over the toast
  • Garnish with finely chopped parsley and sprinkle with Espaillat pepper or another mild pepper. This adds color, a bit of bite, and a bit of heat!

Hollandaise Sauce

This is one of the five mother sauces of French cooking. It is the basis of many other sauces. It has a reputation as a difficult recipe, but honestly, I have never had a problem with it. I don’t think you will either.

Equipment

  • A heavy bottom pan or double boiler
  • Whisk
  • Measuring spoons

Mise en Place

  • 2 free-range egg yolks
  • ½ cup diced butter or 1 stick
  • 2 teaspoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice; to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Espalette pepper or cayenne pepper

Step by Step

  • Place the egg yolks in the pan
  • Add cold water
  • Add the diced butter slowly, one piece at a time, when one melts, add the next one cube
  • Keep whisking until the sauce is creamy with a velvety texture
  • If the mixture becomes too thick, remove it from the heat, add a tiny bit of cold water, adjust accordingly, and whisk
  • Whisk in lemon juice
  • Pour into a bowl and keep warm over a pot of simmering water
  • Spoon the Hollandaise sauce over the asparagus

Serves 6
By Marilyn