Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

  • Serves

    serves 6


This unorthodox method for making hollandaise simplifies and streamlines the process by letting you cook nearly all the ingredients together at once. The resulting sauce is luscious and full-flavored, with a hint of spice from Tabasco sauce. The recipe first appeared in a 1955 edition of the Esquire Cookbook and was published in SAVEUR's special feature about butter (May 2008).

This unorthodox but easy method for making hollandaise sauce appears in an edition of the Esquire Cookbook (Crown, 1955). In traditional recipes, egg yolks are cooked until thick in a bowl, with a wine reduction, over simmering water before clarified butter is whisked into them. In this streamlined version, nearly all the ingredients are cooked together at once to make a luscious, full-flavored sauce.


  • 1⁄4 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1⁄4 cups dry white wine
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 8 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1⁄2 lb. asparagus, woody ends removed


Step 1

Put vinegar, wine, peppercorns, and shallots into a large skillet over medium-high heat; simmer until reduced to about 2 tbsp., 5–6 minutes. Strain reduction through a fine-meshed sieve and let cool.

Step 2

Pour water into a medium pot so that it reaches a depth of 2"; bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a large bowl, whisk together reduction, yolks, butter, salt, and Tabasco. Set bowl over pot; the bottom shouldn't touch water. Whisk mixture until thick, 4–5 minutes. (Don't be alarmed if it looks curdled.) Remove bowl from heat; add lemon juice and 1⁄4 cup warm water; whisk until sauce is smooth; keep warm.

Step 3

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add asparagus; cook until just crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving platter. Pour sauce over asparagus and serve.

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