Must be spring: asparagus is flooding the farmers’ market in SoCal, so I hope things are warming up in the rest of the country, too! Here’s a twist on asparagus served with hollandaise – it’s certainly lower in fat than that classic sauce and adds some protein to a vegetarian meal. Just remember cooking the sauce requires a fine balance: you want to cook the sauce on a low enough heat that it won’t separate, but you also want to heat it long enough that the starch is cooked out. If you add the cold beaten egg directly to the hot sauce or cook it to rapidly, you’ll end up with egg drop soup! And a note on asparagus – only buy this veggie from the vendors who store them upright in a bit of water, and when you get it home, if you’re not cooking it right away, store upright in a tall glass with a bit of water at the bottom.
- 1 lb asparagus
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 c homemade stock or broth
- 1 T cornstarch mixed with 2 T cold water
- 1 T oil
- 1/2 T Shaoxing cooking wine or dry sherry
- 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Snap the tough ends off the asparagus where they break naturally, then rinse, drain, cut into 1.5″ lengths or roll-cut. Blanch and shock.
- Bring the stock to a simmer, then add cornstarch mixture and bring back to a simmer, stirring constantly until slightly thickened, then simmer 1 m more to cook out the starchy taste.
- Whisking constantly, gradually add 1/4 c of the hot stock mixture to the egg, then add the egg mixture back to the hot stock mixture, whisking constantly. Heat gently until thickened – it should not reach a simmer. Remove from the heat, season with 1/4 tsp salt and keep warm.
- Heat the oil in a wok over medium high heat just until it shimmers.
- Add the asparagus and stirfry until crisp-tender.
- Add the cooking wine and 1/4 tsp salt, stirfry to allow the sherry to evaporate, then remove to a serving plate.
- Drizzle with the egg sauce and serve immediately.