Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

  • Active Time 15m
  • Total Time 25m

Serves 4

Before World War I, hollandaise sauce was called Sauce Isigny, after a town in Normandy known for its butter. During the war, butter production came to a halt and it was imported from Holland. The name was changed to hollandaise to indicate the source of the butter and was never changed back.


  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup clarified butter, melted
  • Small pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 32 asparagus spears
  • 1/3 cup kosher or coarse salt


FOR THE SAUCE: Whisk the egg yolks with 4 tablespoons of water in the top of a double boiler until foamy. Place over simmering water and continue whisking over low heat until the mixture is thick and you can see the trail made by the whisk. Remove the top pan from the heat and gradually add the butter, whisking constantly. Once all the butter has been incorporated, strain the sauce and season with salt to taste, a dash of cayenne pepper and the lemon juice. Keep the sauce warm over warm water. (If preferred, a food processor can be used to make the sauce. Whisk the egg yolks and water and, with the motor running, add the melted warm butter to the processor in a thin stream.)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer from the lower two thirds of the stem of each asparagus spear. Line up the spears of asparagus and tie into bundles of eight.

Add the kosher or coarse salt and then the asparagus bundles to the water. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the tips are tender. Remove and drain on paper towels. Remove the string and arrange each bundle on a warm serving plate. Coat with some of the hollandaise sauce and serve immediately.

Tip: Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion like mayonnaise, but made with warm clarified butter, which helps to make a smooth sauce. Once made, the sauce should be kept lukewarm. If the sauce is overheated, it will separate. If this should happen, the sauce can be repaired by adding a little cold water and whisking.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Periplus Editions. All rights reserved.

RecID 1163

nutrition information per serving

349 calories; 35g total fat; 242mg cholesterol; 9314mg sodium; 7g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 5g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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