Rite of Spring

asparagusIn spring, when the pencil-thin asparagus make their debut at the grocery store, there is only one thing to do. Go home and make hollandaise. It’s bad, it’s wrong, it’s full of butter. But nothing, nothing, can replace it as the ultimate luxury of the palate. The creamy hollandaise, redolent of lemon juice with a hint of cayenne pepper, is the perfect foil for bright green, tender crisp asparagus.

And it’s easy. Really, really easy. For a pound of asparagus: Trim off the ends and put them in a microwave container. Add about a tablespoon of water. Microwave on high at 30-second intervals until the stalks are crisp tender.

For the hollandaise: Combine 3 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Blend on high for a few seconds. Melt 1 stick of butter in a measuring cup in the microwave. Turn the blender back on high and slowly stream the melted butter in until the sauce turns a pale yellow. Taste and add more salt if needed.

This is so good that I didn’t even wait to get the asparagus and hollandaise on a plate. I just dipped the spears into the blender and ate and ate and ate.

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