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Friday, March 19, 2010

Easy Hollandaise Sauce with Steamed Asparagus

When you go to the supermarkets to buy your groceries at this time of the year, the first thing you will see are probably the strawberries.  A week or so after strawberries, the asparagus starts showing up. They put them in the displays with those fancy vegetable peeling gadgets and with ready made hollandaise sauces out of the box or out of a pack, full fat, low fat, all different versions you can imagine.
I remember, the first time I tried to cook asparagus I had no idea about how to get started. Forget cooking it, I didn't even have a clue about how to peel the funny looking things. I haven't seen them in my life before I came to this country.  It wasn't something we used to eat at home.  It was my husband who encouraged me to give them a go.  As a new wife who wanted to learn more about how to cook in Switzerland, I wanted to try and see if could pull it off. The result was a total disappointment. The asparagus was not peeled right and wasn't cooked enough. The whole thing was terrible, however there was one achievement; the hollandaise sauce I made from scratch.  Even then I wasn't so into these ready made sauces so I found a recipe on the internet and made it myself.  I remember that it was so yummy and I could just eat it without anything.
This time however, I felt like I had a bit more experience in cooking asparagus so I was quite confident when I saw the first bunch in our local supermarket this week. I decided to make the sauce at home.  I started looking on the internet for a very good recipe, but I wasn't able to find one that looked easy and practical. Some looked really complicated even though they said that it's a really easy sauce. In the end I came up with below recipe for this sauce.  It tasted very good and it wasn't complicated at all. The trick was to whisk it constantly and to use low heat.
For the asparagus, I used my pressure cooker to steam them, but they ended up a little too soft. Therefore below is my recommended timing for a medium size pressure cooker.

Makes about 3-4 servings as a starter.

1 kg green asparagus
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons of water
3 egg yolks (slightly beaten)
100 grams of butter
juice of half a lemon
some salt and pepper
a little bit of hot chili powder or cayenne pepper

Start with peeling the asparagus and don't forget to cut the rough end bits. Put them in your pressure cooker and steam them with a bit water for about 5 minutes. Cooking time can vary according to the type of pressure cooker you have. Alternatively you can use a steamer, but then you need to check the instructions to cook the asparagus for the model you have.
For the sauce, start by putting the vinegar and water in a small sauce pan and bring it to simmer. Do not boil it. Keep the heat at low temperature and start whisking the eggs in very slowly. After the eggs are in, keep whisking it for about a minute.  Slowly add the butter to the mixture bit by bit and continue to whisk. Once you have all the butter in, add some salt and pepper, then the chili powder. Give it a good stir and that is all.
Serve it on warm asparagus as displayed in the photo and enjoy.


  1. hey. i just made my first hollandaise today. slightly different recipe though and it turned out a little bitter....
    will try again

  2. Hi Sarah, that's great.. let me know how it turns out.