John has popped together a recipe below to help you make the most of the fresh English asparagus that’s now in season.
He says: “Asparagus recipes are very simple, but are particular favourites in the restaurant, especially with the rich silky buttery-ness of Hollandaise and crisp saltiness of the Prosciutto.
4ptns. Vegetarian alternative is to leave out the Prosciutto
You will need:
- 20 spears of fresh English Asparagus
- 4 slices Prosciutto
- 2 Free Range Eggs Yolks
- 1 Tbsp Malt Vinegar
- 6-8 Black Peppercorns
- 200gm Clarified Butter
Using a large saute pan (big enough to take the length of a spear), half fill with slightly salted water and bring to the boil.
Wash and trim the base of the asparagus spears to remove the woody end (approx 1″) and gently place the remaining spears into the boiling water for a max of 30 seconds (blanching stage).
Remove from the boiling water and place immediately into a bowl of iced water to halt the cooking process.
Once cooled, take five spears and bundle together and then place mid spear at one end of a slice of Prosciutto. Carefully holding the Prosciutto flat on your preparation board, you need to roll the bundle so that the meat wraps around the asparagus to form a neat package. Place on to a greased baking tray with the slice end face down to stop it unravelling in the oven.
In the meantime, you will need to make the Hollandaise Sauce, as follows:
Place the vinegar and peppercorns in a small frying pan and heat until half the vinegar has evaporated. Remove from the heat and replace this lost fluid with a half a spoon of water. Sieve this liquid to a whisking bowl (discard peppercorns) together with the egg yolks and whisk vigorously over a pan of very hot water (not boiling) until the egg thickens to ribbon stage (lift the whisk over the mixture to see if a trail is left on the surface). Do not overheat this mix as you will end up with scrambled egg!
Once at this stage, it might be worthwhile to get a second person involved to slowly pour the warm clarified butter in to the egg mix whilst you continue to whisk. All being well this should form what is known as an emulsion and the mixture will continue to thicken and become slightly custard like in texture. As you need to have a slow pouring consistency to your final sauce, you can add a little hot water from the kettle to thin the mixture down slightly.
The sauce may require a little seasoning depending on your taste.
Just before serving place the asparagus bundles in to a hot oven (200°C) for 4-5 minutes or until the Prosciutto has crisped slightly. Serve on to a warmed dinner plate and coat liberally with your Hollandaise Sauce. Enjoy!