It really doesn’t get more luxurious than a stack of tender, delicate white asparagus smothered in velvety hollandaise sauce. Serve as an appetizer or side dish–either way this recipe is sure to impress!
Asparagus and hollandaise sauce is a classic combination. This version pairs tender, white asparagus with my truly *fail-proof* hollandaise. This recipe is perfect for special occasions as an appetizer or side dish. Serve it alongside a buttery medium-rare steak or crispy skin branzino.
For the hollandaise, I find that using a high-quality European style butter eliminates the need to make clarified butter. Instead, I simply melt the butter in a small sauce pan and then use an immersion blender to whip the egg yolks and butter into a beautiful pale yellow hollandaise. If you don’t already own an immersion blender I highly recommend you get one. They come in handy so often and can do most of the jobs of a traditional stand blender can but with much less hassle, easier clean up and they take up a fraction of the space in your kitchen.
If you don’t feel like fussing with hollandaise sauce you can serve these beautiful white asparagus with a lemony aioli for dipping or a bath of browned butter and flakey sea salt poured over top.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here’s what you need to make this recipe: a bundle of white asparagus spears, eggs, good-quality butter, lemon and a bit of salt.
White Asparagus vs. Green Asparagus…What’s the difference?
Mostly how they’re grown. White and green asparagus are the same vegetable just grown differently. White asparagus stalks grow completely underground, unexposed to sunlight which prevents them from producing chlorophyll and turning green. Unlike green asparagus that grow above ground, harvesting white asparagus is a delicate and challenging task. The stalks are brittle and snap easily so they must be very carefully dug out of the earth to prevent breaking. Tedious harvesting combined with a super-short growing season makes white asparagus a highly-celebrated and rare delicacy.
Recipe Step by Step:
Use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel away the woody, fibrous skin of the asparagus. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then simmer the asparagus until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Insert the tip of a knife or metal skewer into the thickest spear to test for doneness.
Making hollandaise sauce is a lot easier than you might think. Start by melting the butter in a small sauce pan. While the butters going, blend together your egg yolks, lemon juice and salt with an immersion blender. Once the butter is piping hot and completely melted begin to very slowly drizzle it into the egg yolks while blending on high. The mixture will thicken and become a beautiful pale yellow color. Taste and season with additional salt and/or lemon juice as needed.
White Asparagus FAQs:
White asparagus has a subtle pleasantly bitter taste combined with a faintly sweet earthy, grassy flavor. It’s similar to regular green asparagus, but the flavor is more mild and delicate.
Yes, due to it’s tough and fibrous outer skin white asparagus must be peeled.
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White Asparagus with Hollandaise
- 1 lb white asparagus
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter ideally a high-quality European style butter
- 2 large egg yolks room temperature
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- Trim away the woody ends of each asparagus spear–approximately 2-3 inches from the bottom. Using a vegetable peeler, and starting about 1 ½ inches from the tip of each spear, peel away the remaining tough outer layer.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the asparagus to the pot and boil until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to a large plate or platter.
- Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks, lemon juice and salt in the base of tall glass jar. Using an immersion blender, blend for 30 seconds. The friction generated by the blender blades will warm up the yolks.
- Transfer the hot, melted butter into a container with a spout, a glass Pyrex measuring cup is perfect. With the blender on high begin to slowly pour the butter into the egg mixture while continously blending.
- Once all of the butter is incorporated and the mixture is thick, creamy and pale yellow, taste and season with additional salt or lemon juice as needed.
- To serve; pour the hollandaise sauce over the warm asparagus. Serve immedietly!
- Mostly how they’re grown. White and green asparagus are the same vegetable just grown differently. White asparagus stalks grow completely underground, unexposed to sunlight which prevents them from producing chlorophyll and turning green. Unlike green asparagus that grow above ground, harvesting white asparagus is a delicate and challenging task. The stalks are brittle and snap easily so they must be very carefully dug out of the earth to prevent breaking. Tedious harvesting combined with a super-short growing season makes white asparagus a highly-celebrated and rare delicacy.
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