Fancy as it sounds, this dish is far from complicated. Many people obsess over asparagus being expensive – but honestly, I bet these people never even look at the price tag. Asparagus can be purchased really quite cheaply from any bigger supermarket, and sauce crème is much simpler than it sounds.
So if you want something fancy looking on the table as either a vegetable side dish or a warm starter or even a small main dish, this blog post is your new best buddy.
As we know, you learn by practising – so now I look back smiling at my last attempt to cook asparagus.
Number one thing I have learned from Julia Child today: trim those damn things! Of course they won’t taste nice if one tries to nibble on the butts that have their rough skin on. Trim these with a little paring knife to make the whole stalk edible.
New thing number two: tie them together and cook them as a bunch! They will hold their shape a lot more this way. Tie them together near the stalks and the butts (twice), and this way, you can lift them out of the pan just as easily too.
New thing number three: asparagus with Hollandaise is delicious but overused. There are so many other recipes to try!
Sauce Crème is actually nothing but a thick bèchamel sauce to which you add cream spoonful by spoonful (I used about half a cup). The sauce looks a lot more runny on my picture than it actually is – the aim is to keep the bèchamel consistency, just enrich the sauce with cream. Once you’ve done that, if you like, add a small nob of butter away from the heat for a little butter enrichment and voilá! Sauce crème ready.
I cooked the asparagus for about 12 minutes, when the butts were soft and very easy to pierce with a knife. The stalks were just crunchy enough and even the butts turned soft in the mouth.
P.S. Don’t forget to salt the water in which you cook the vegetable. Still makes a whole lot of difference.
Vera Sugár, graduate with a journalism and creative writing degree, started writing at the age of 10. Passionate about literature, arts, history and languages, she speaks fluent English, French and Spanish. Her works are available at http://goodaswinter.wordpress.com.