Spring is here, and among culinary-minded Germans that can mean only one thing: Spargelzeit!
From April to mid-June, Berliners go asparagus crazy as kilos upon kilos of the white stuff are trucked in from nearby Beelitz to markets and roadside stands. You’ll find Spargel on every restaurant menu in town, often in wildly elaborate preparations. But if you ask us, all asparagus needs to really shine is a little hollandaise sauce. Ignore the dubious store-bought versions and make it yourself with this recipe from Kurhaus Kursakow.
- About 200g fresh asparagus
- Salt, sugar, white wine
- 250g butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp water
- 3 tbsp white wine
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 bay leaf
- 2-3 allspice berries
- Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, Worcester sauce
Asparagus: Peel asparagus spears starting from about 1cm below the tip. Trim the ends if they are dry. Place the peels and ends in a pot of water and bring to a boil; after a minute or so, strain and return the water to the pot. Add the asparagus along with a little salt, a pinch of sugar and a splash of white wine and simmer until easily pierced with a knife, about 15 min.
Hollandaise Sauce: Melt the butter in a pot and clarify by skimming foam from the surface. In another pot, boil the white wine, water, bay leaf and allspice until reduced by half, then pass through a sieve. In a bowl over a pot of boiling water, whisk together the egg yolks, white wine reduction and lemon juice until creamy. Gradually add the melted butter while slowly stirring. Season to taste with salt, pepper, cayenne and Worcester sauce; serve with the cooked asparagus.
Tip: Add a stale bread roll to the pot while cooking the asparagus – it’ll absorb any excess bitterness.
Originally published in Issue #115, April 2013.