Caviar with Hollandaise Foam and Poached Asparagus

Caviar is delicious, delectable and decadent. For the uninitiated, caviar
can be difficult to describe. It is not the orange masago or tobiko
you equate with sushi. Real caviar, which only comes from varieties
of sturgeon, should taste rich, buttery and like the sea – it seems you
inhale the essence of sea water. The really distinctive aspect of caviar is
more about its texture, so it is not going to be as ‘crispy' as masago, the
eggs sort of melt in your mouth. The large individual eggs pop on your
tongue, and the rich, slightly sweet taste oozes into your mouth and
the flavour fills your nose. Accompaniments are meant to serve as a
serving vehicle rather than an additional flavour; blinis with
creme fraiche or toast points with unsalted super high quality butter. Ice
cold Vodka, bubbly French champagne and Pouilly-Fuissé are delightful
beverages that have long been the quintessential beverage pairing with
one of the world’s most coveted delicacies, but a well-crafted porter or
amber ale is just as good if not better to add to the mix. This recipe gilds
the lily in a delightful way. It takes a little effort, but is so worth it for your
holiday entertaining. (only invite REALLY good friends)

• 1 bunch of very thin baby asparagus, trimmed to 11/2 inches from tip
• Poaching liquid –  1 inch of water in sautée pan and large tablespoon of
kosher salt
• Bowl of ice water
• Hollandaise sauce
• 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
• 4 room temperature egg yolks
• 1 cup warm clarified butter or ghee
• lemon juice, to taste
• 1 generous tablespoon russian caviar per person (more if your budget
• salt and pepper, to taste

To make hollandaise, whisk vinegar and yolks in a medium heat-proof
bowl. Place bowl over a medium saucepan filled with about 2 inches of
simmering water, whisk continuously until mixture thickens slightly and
very soft peaks form (remove the bowl form saucepan occasionally to
prevent water from boiling and curdling egg mixture)
Continuously whisk in warm butter one tablespoon at a time until
mixture is thick.
Remove from saucepan and stir in a little lemon juice.
Season with salt and pepper.
Use latte foamer whisk or foaming canister to fluff sauce (if you have

Bring salt water to gentle simmer. Add asparagus tips and cook just until
al dente, about 2 minutes. Plunge into ice water to halt cooking
To serve, place asparagus onto a serving plate, add a dollop of
hollandaise foam and top with caviar.

 NOTE: any serving spoon that touches caviar must be bone or mother
of pearl, even plastic will work but NEVER metal

Pairs well with your favouite Porter or Amber Ale.