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Pan-fried asparagus and Parma ham with hollandaise

Pan-fried, Parma ham-wrapped asparagus spears are ideal for a cocktail party, lunch or dinner.

22/11/2019

With festive season social occasions just around the corner, Spier has the perfect quick-and-easy dish for your guests – and it goes wonderfully with a glass of Spier’s crisp Signature Chenin Blanc 2019. These pan-fried, Parma ham-wrapped asparagus spears are ideal for a cocktail party, lunch or dinner. They make an elegant starter but can also add magic to a larger spread as a side dish.

Be careful not to overcook the asparagus – they can easily become limp and lose their colour. Once you’ve successfully made the luxurious hollandaise sauce (it’s not as difficult as you might think), you’ll be able to move on to classic Eggs Benedict for breakfast. Your weekend mornings will never be the same!

(serves 4 as a starter)

Ingedients:

For the hollandaise sauce:

• 3 extra-large egg yolks
• 30ml (2 tablespoons) lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar)
• pinch of salt
• 150g butter, cubed

For the asparagus:

• About 16-24 asparagus spears (not too thin)
• 16-24 slices Parma ham, very thinly sliced (roughly 120-150g)
• 15-30ml (1-2 tablespoons) olive oil
• ¼ cup (60ml) almond flakes, toasted in a dry pan
• A handful micro herbs, for serving (optional)

Method:

1. Make the hollandaise first so that it’s ready when the asparagus is fried. Place a small pot filled with 5cm water on the stove and heat to a slow simmer.

2. In a slightly wider heat-proof bowl (glass or stainless steel), add the yolks, lemon juice and salt. Place the bowl over the simmering water, taking care that the bottom of the mixing bowl doesn’t touch the water. Start whisking the egg mixture immediately, whisking steadily as the mixture heats up. When it starts to thicken (after about 3 to 5 minutes), add a few blocks of butter and keep on whisking as they melt into the mixture. Keep on adding more butter until it is all melted and incorporated, and you are left with a thickened custard-like sauce.

GOOD TO KNOW: If your mixture becomes too thick at any stage or looks like it wants to split, remove it from the heat and add more cold butter to bring the temperature down, and then continue as above.

3. Remove from the heat when ready and set aside until ready to use. (Add a tablespoon of boiling water to the mixture to bring it back to pouring consistency just before serving, if necessary.) Finally, serve it with Spier’s Signature Chenin Blanc 2019.

The Spier Signature Chenin Blanc 2019 retails for R69.00 a bottle and is available at the Spier wine shop and leading liquor outlets nationwide. https://www.spier.co.za/shop/products/spier-signature-chenin-blanc-2017. By choosing Spier, you are supporting Spier’s Growing for Good learning initiatives that empower communities to create positive social and environmental change.