In Holland, Asparagus season is not to be trifled with. The shelves are lined with white asparagus (populary called 'gold'), york ham and hard boiled eggs. Ready-to-go Hollandaise is a given. As are boiled potatoes.
Though I love asparagus, I hate it boiled. The beautiful stem which is delicious and crisp becomes stringy and wiry. I love it grilled on the barbie but sympathize with those living in the North pole, aka New York. Great city me thinks but perhaps not yet in sync with outdoor grills just yet. A grill pan on the hob will do. Sit back, tuck in an enjoy.
And York ham is a tribute to our British neighbours. It is a fine specimen of all things porcine - the quintessential English Ham. It is dry cured and matured over a period of at least ten week. The result - succulent and packed with flavour. —Kitchen Butterfly
- Serves 4
1 teaspoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon - 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
4 fresh eggs
16 green asparagus spears, washed
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
8 slices of york ham
Salt, to taste
1-2 tablespoons finely grated pecorino, optional
Blender hollandaise, to serve instead of mustard sauce
- To make mustard sauce, heat the fflour and butter in a pan, stirring and cooking for a couple of minutes till the butter is melted and forms a paste with the flour.Slowly whisk in some milk till a dripping sauce is formed, the consistency of pouring cream. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes and whisk int he mustard. Adjust consistency with more milk, season with salt to taste and serve hot!
- For the most perfect boiled eggs follow this step - in a pan, boil water and once boiling, lower the 4 eggs in. Cover with a lid and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water, run under a cold water tap and soak in a bowl of cold water. Set aside to cool, then peel and cut each egg in half.
- Peel the stalks of asparagus, leaving the spears untouched. Cut off the woody base, about 2-3 cm. Drizzle the olive oil over the asparagus spears and season with salt, rubbing the oil and salt over each spear to ensure they are evenly coated.
- Embracing and including the world, forgetting hot barbeques in Spring frost for a minute or two - heat up a griddle pan and when hot, grill the asparagus spears in batches for a couple of minutes, turning so all the sides get a flash of heat. Cook for no longer than 2-3 minutes or you'l loose the crispness
- To serve, place asparagus spears on plate, 4 per person. Top with slices of york ham and two egg halves. Sprinkle with the lightest bit of pecorino, if you like. Then serve with some hollandaise or mustard sauce.
- Enjoy Dutch hospitality. At home.