Recipe: Asparagus in Beurre Blanc sauce





The early arrival of asparagus season thanks to the now seemingly distant mild spring has conveniently coincided with CellarVie Wines’ focus on the Loire this week. With that in mind we thought we would combine a classic French recipe, Beurre Blanc, which originates from the aforementioned iconic wine region and match it with asparagus to coincide with the season’s opening.

Beurre Blanc is a perfect and archetypal unctuous sauce that is a lovely accompaniment to a host of dishes such as poached or grilled fish, or in this instance asparagus, that perfectly complements the white and rose wines from the Loire region. 
 
Ingredients

For the Beurre Blanc

140g chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

2 medium shallots, peeled, thinly sliced

½ garlic clove, peeled, thinly sliced

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 small bay leaf

150ml dry white wine

1 tsp white wine vinegar

sea salt

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the asparagus

6 spears fresh asparagus or a approximately one pound

Method

For the Beurre Blanc: Heat one tablespoon of butter in a non-stick pan over a medium heat.

When the butter has melted, add the shallots, garlic, thyme and bay leaf and cook for two minutes until the shallots have softened but not coloured.

Add the white wine and wine vinegar and bring to the boil. Continue to boil until most of the liquid has evaporated, then gradually whisk in the chilled butter cubes, one at a time, until all of the butter has blended in and the sauce has thickened and is glossy.

Strain the beurre blanc through a fine sieve into a warmed bowl, then season to taste, with salt and pour over the lemon juice. Keep warm, not too warm as the sauce will split.

For the asparagusTo roast, wash the asparagus and prepare them by removing the stringy green points around the sides and trimming the tough, leathery base. [Alternatively to steam, briefly steam it for about 2 minutes until just tender and serve]

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the asparagus for about 8-10 minutes, ensuring to turn them several times for even cooking.

Serve the asparagus on a plate with the Beurre Blanc drizzled over and around, with extra sauce on the side. A nice addition to this dish could be some thinly sliced Smoked-Salmon. 

Wine Suggestion:
 
Serve with a chilled glass of Touraine Sauvignon, 2010, Domain Trotignon or Sancerre Rosé, 2010 Le Rabault from Joseph Mellot, available from Cellar Vie Wines.
 
Main image by SkÃ¥nska Matupplevelser 
 

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