White asparagus with bearnaise sauce
Although white asparagus are very popular in Spain, they are not easy to find in England. Because of that, when I bump into them in Cambridge, I go straight to buy them! So, here we are!
I come from Aragón, in the Ebro Valley, near to La Rioja and Navarra. These regions well-known for their wines and also for their amazing agricultural products. White asapragus are a delicate dish in spring, mainly if they come from Navarra, where they have a Destination of Origin.
A lot of ideas came to my mind when I bought them the other day. I thought of cooking them with poached eggs and chorizo, or make a cake (but I had made one recently with green asparagus – here it is the recipe, so it would be too much), or just boil them and make a vinaigrette or a salad or cook them au gratin with bechamel… Even I thought to boil them and freeze a few to keep them until winter (they keep frozen really well). But I had just a couple of bunches so, not too many for all those ideas.
Furthermore, I didn’t take into account my boyfriend’s ideas so we had to decide/negotiate what to do. The result: boiled asparagus with a bearnaise sauce. I know the sauce is French, but he is not Spanish so… Anyway, the combination was delicious!
400 grams white asparagus
For the sauce
4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh tarragon
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
300 grams butter
My part of the recipe
I was in charge of boiling the asparagus. Yes, the easy part! Hahaha!
I cracked the ends of the asparagus as it is the hardest part. Then I peeled them to eliminate the hard and thready, ropey skin and washed them to eliminate any rest of soil or skin. I tie them with kitchen twine so the tips don’t break.
In a deep pot, I heated water. When it was starting boiling, I put the asparagus with the tips up and left boiling for 10-15 minutes. I checked with a fork that they were tender (but not overcooked as then they are watery, too soft and with a faded colour).
I moved them to a colander to drain and keep in cold water. My part was done. I only had to wait for the sauce!
My boyfriend’s part
He chopped the shallots and the tarragon finely and simmered all in the white wine vinegar and season with a pinch of salt.
Meanwhile, he diced the butter and keep at room temperature so it wasn’t too cold to mix later with the egg yolks.
Once the shallot was cooked, he strained it and keep the juice aside until completely cool.
In a bowl, he beat the egg yolks with a teaspoon of water and add the cooled vinegar and stir until getting a smooth mixture. Then he added the lemon juice.
In a low heat, he put a bowl with lukewarm water and on top of that, suspended, the bowl with the yolk mixture. He whisked constantly and added one by one the dices of butter until he got a thick and smooth texture. Then he removed the bowl from the heat and keep aside to cool it down.
I just set the asparagus on a big plate and pour the sauce on top. If you have more fresh tarragon, you can chop some leaves and sprinkle on top.