New Zealand is known for its clean green image, beautiful scenery, friendly people and amazing asparagus.
The season is short and at its very best between September through to December.It is mainly grown in the south of the North Island and in the Canterbury area of the South Island. Because of the cooler climate in the South Island, the asparagus spear takes longer to grow and therefore the flavour is enhanced.
I don’t know about everyone else but asparagus was not on my list of things I love to eat when I was a kid but now I just cannot get enough of this strange plant. It just makes me feel good after I eat this incredible yummy stuff.
A few little facts about asparagus:
1. Huge health benefits best source of Folate (or Folic acid a B vitamin) and very good source of fibre
2. Galen second century physician described asparagus as “cleansing and healing”
3. It has been claimed to be an aphrodisiac but will let you decide this one
Of course you can saute, bake, grill, steam, and roast asparagus, but really if you are in a hurry like me most of the time asparagus is perfect in the microwave. I honestly just zap it for only a 1 minute with some butter, salt and pepper and I let you be the judge …it is soooo good. I was speaking to Canadian friend today who has migrated to N.Z and is discovering our asparagus for the first time. She said she cooked hers in the microwave with butter then shavings of parmesan.
“Asparagus with Hollandaise and Smoked Salmon”
- 2 large egg yolks
- 4 oz butter
- 1 dessert spoon lemon juice
- 1 dessert spoon white wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place the egg yolks in a blender with a pinch of salt and pepper and blend for 1 – 2 minutes
- Put the white wine vinegar and the lemon juice in a small pan and heat until very hot and bubbling. Watch it carefully as such a small quantity will get very hot very suddenly.
- Set the blender running and slowly pour the hot pan mixture into the egg
- Put the butter in the same pan and melt the butter again be careful not to let it burn. When it is all melted bring it up to a temperature where it starts to bubble and look pretty hot
- Remove from the heat and again with the blender running very very slowly pour into the egg mixture. Stop every so often to give it time to blend in well. if it starts to look like its going to curdle keep blending without adding any more butter until you have rescued it.
- You should now have a lovely creamy sauce ready to serve. Pour over freshly steamed asparagus and top with a twist of smoked salmon
- Serve straight away