White Asparagus wrapped in Crêpes with Sauce Hollandaise

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A bag full of white asparagus is laying on my kitchen top, so crunchy and fresh, that its juices start running as soon as I cut the bottoms off. Their short season which ends in late May or early June has just started. It’s a delicate gem, also referred to as the royal vegetable, white gold or edible ivory. While green asparagus grows above the ground, the white shoots stay covered in soil and ripen in the dark which prevents photosynthesis, hence the white colour. This technique is called blanching in horticulture, it creates a delicate flavour and makes them tender and less bitter. Unlike their green relatives, white asparagus has to be peeled and also needs to cook a little longer, around 8 minutes to keep them al dente.

One of the most common recipes which puts the focus on the pure taste of the asparagus, is white asparagus served in brown butter with breadcrumbs and slices of cooked ham and new potatoes on the side. A very popular variation on this meal which is also my favourite, is to replace the butter with a sauce Hollandaise, homemade of course as it’s not as complicated as one may fear. The taste of this sauce, buttery, eggy, enhanced with Dijon mustard and lemon brings the best out of this royal vegetable. There is some helpful information put together on Food52 for dressings which demand emulsification like sauce Hollandaise or aioli.

I wrapped my first white asparagus of the year in thin crêpes with chives and baked them with a thick and fluffy sauce Hollandaise under the grill, just for a few minutes until it had a golden bubbly crust.

Asparagus with Crêpe and Sauce Hollandaise

 White Asparagus wrapped in Crêpes with Sauce Hollandaise

For 4 people you need

white asparagus, peeled, the bottoms cut off, 1.5kg / 3 pounds

In a large pot, cook the asparagus in plenty of salted water for about 8 minutes till al dente.

 

For the crêpe

organic eggs 4
milk 400ml
plain flour, sieved, 200g / 7 ounces
salt 1 teaspoon
chives, chopped, 1 bunch

Whisk or mix the ingredients for the pancakes until well combined, stir in the chives at the end. Fry the crêpes thinly in a large non-stick pan in a little butter for 1-2 minutes. They should be golden on both sides.

 

For the sauce Hollandaise

butter melted 120g / 4.5 ounces
organic egg yolks 4
water 4 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tablespoons
Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons
salt and black pepper

In a sauce pan, whisk the egg yolks with the water, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper for the sauce Hollandaise till fluffy. Put the pan on a low temperature, the pot should become warm but not hot. Whisk the melted butter into the egg mixtures, adding just a tablespoon at a time and whisk well in between. If the sauce becomes too hot, take it off the heat immediately or add a little more water. When its all combined continue whisking for 1-2 minutes, off the heat if it’s already thick and creamy or on the heat, but mind the temperature. Season with salt and pepper and more mustard to taste.

 

For the crêpe roll

Roll 2-3 asparagus in each crêpe, put the wraps flat onto a large baking dish and pour the sauce over it. Bake under the grill for a couple minutes until the sauce starts bubbling and turns a golden brown. Serve immediately.

If you don’t need all of the sauce for the asparagus you can keep it in the fridge until the next day and eat it with potatoes or mixed in an omelet, both are great with chopped chives!

Asparagus with Crêpe and Sauce Hollandaise

 

Asparagus with Crêpe and Sauce Hollandaise

 

Asparagus with Crêpe and Sauce Hollandaise

Cucumber Salad with Dill and Sour Cream Dressing

Cucumber Salad with Dill + Sour Cream

Lots of amazing food was gathered on my own and on my friend’s and family’s tables in the past couple days, we enjoyed some special culinary treats, had a great time, and of course ate lots of sweets, cakes and chocolate. No complaints but it’s time for a break! I love to feast for days, especially together with the ones I love. Treating others and myself to good homemade food, spending time together at a long table, trying out and sharing new recipes, I need and appreciate this so much. It’s like taking a break from the daily routine when time is tight and work is always waiting. These feasts caress my soul, I  treasure these moments highly and most of the time they become my most beloved memories!

But each feast has its end, otherwise it wouldn’t be so special. Therefore I gladly enjoy a light salad, simple and quick. It combines a lot I love about spring, juicy and tasty cucumber which is such a pleasure after months of watery winter cucumbers, fresh dill, strong and aromatic, and a smooth dressing with sour cream and lemon. For the two of us, I sliced 1 small cucumber very thinly and dolloped my milky dressing over it. I whisked 2 heaped tablespoons of sour cream with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and added 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. This is just a rough guideline, adjust the ingredients to your own taste, or add some more herbs like chives or parsley or some other vegetables like cherry tomatoes or lettuce. I was happy with my puristic combination, just cucumber, the dressing nicely balanced between sweet, sour and milky, and some freshly chopped dill sprinkled on top.

Cucumber Salad with Dill + Sour Cream

 

Cucumber Salad with Dill + Sour Cream