Cuisine - - GUEST CHEF -

Recipes & recipe in­tros Kelda Hains / Food pho­tog­ra­phy Aaron McLean Still-life pho­tog­ra­phy Tony Ny­berg / Styling Fiona Las­celles


For me, as­para­gus with eggs is al­most the per­fect spring dish. It’s pretty much the only time of the year we make hol­landaise, be­cause it ties the two to­gether per­fectly. Re­cently, we’ve been adding gin­ger to the re­duc­tion and miso to the fin­ished sauce. Miso is very good with as­para­gus; one of those com­bi­na­tions that just works. Mak­ing hol­landaise is a bit of a pro­duc­tion and if it’s not for you, a miso aioli or vinai­grette (see be­low) is worth try­ing on an as­para­gus salad, if only to ap­pre­ci­ate how well they work to­gether.

600g as­para­gus 4 eggs miso hol­landaise (recipe fol­lows) sesame & buckwheat sprin­kle (recipe fol­lows)

Soak the as­para­gus in cold wa­ter, and snap the ends. Bring two lar­gish pots of well-salted wa­ter to the boil. Add the as­para­gus to one pot and boil for 3½ min­utes, or un­til ten­der. Drain and set aside.

Bring the other pot of wa­ter to a sim­mer, then turn down the heat. When the wa­ter stops mov­ing, gen­tly crack in the eggs. Let the eggs cook with­out the wa­ter boil­ing again. This should take about 3 min­utes. While the eggs are poach­ing, place the as­para­gus on four warm plates. When the eggs are done, scoop them from the wa­ter with a slot­ted spoon. Drain each egg well, and place on the as­para­gus. Cover the egg with a gen­er­ous spoon­ful of miso hol­landaise, and then a ta­ble­spoon of the sesame and buckwheat sprin­kle.


Here is the proper recipe for hol­landaise. There are quicker ways to make it, but they’re not as de­li­cious! This method re­quires a bit more at­ten­tion and more whisk­ing, but it’s worth it. This is the small­est amount of hol­landaise you would want to make, and will be a gen­er­ous serv­ing for 4.

I pre­fer to use white miso in this par­tic­u­lar recipe. It’s lighter and sweeter in flavour, and less salty than other types.


50g fresh gin­ger 1 shal­lot ½ cup white wine ¼ cup cider vine­gar 8 pep­per­corns

Slice the gin­ger and shal­lot finely and put in a small pan with the wine, vine­gar and pep­per­corns. Cook slowly, un­til the liq­uid has re­duced to about 2 ta­ble­spoons. Strain and set aside.


200g salted but­ter 2 egg yolks 50g white miso

Melt the but­ter and keep it warm. Put the egg yolks and the re­duc­tion into a stain­less steel bowl that fits over a saucepan. Bring a lit­tle wa­ter in the saucepan to a sim­mer. Keep­ing the heat very low, set the bowl on top. The wa­ter shouldn’t touch the bot­tom of the bowl; the steam is suf­fi­cient to cook the mix­ture. Whisk the egg yolk mix­ture con­tin­u­ously when it’s on the heat. The hol­landaise will foam and pro­duce large bub­bles. As you whisk, the bub­bles will get smaller and smaller, and the mix­ture will be­come glossy. It’s ready when you can draw a fig­ure 8 that holds its shape on top.

If you ap­ply too much heat at this stage, the mix­ture will scram­ble. If nec­es­sary, shift your whole set-up off the el­e­ment and use the resid­ual heat from the saucepan of wa­ter.

Take the egg yolk mix­ture off the heat and slowly whisk in the melted but­ter. Start with just a few drops of but­ter, grad­u­ally in­creas­ing the amount, but never more than you can in­cor­po­rate with a few turns of the whisk. Whisk in the miso. Taste and ad­just the salt. If it seems too salty, you can add a squeeze of lemon. Set aside, cov­ered, for up to 30 min­utes in a warm place – over the saucepan of warm wa­ter is a good op­tion.


This is an ad­di­tional em­bel­lish­ment, and al­though it’s not en­tirely nec­es­sary, it brings some in­ter­est­ing tex­ture to the plate, as well as adding an­other layer of flavour. It’s good in as­para­gus sal­ads, too.

¼ cup sesame seeds 10g dried farmed wakame ½ dried chilli, seeds re­moved ¼ cup buckwheat groats 1 ta­ble­spoon oil flaky sea salt

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan un­til they’re light brown. Grind the wakame and chilli, and add these to the seeds with a lit­tle salt.

Boil the buckwheat groats for 7-8 min­utes. They will still be un­der­done at this stage. Drain them well.

Heat the oil in a fry­ing pan and fry the buckwheat un­til it’s crunchy and light brown. Set it aside on a pa­per towel to cool and to drain any ex­cess oil. Add it to the sesame mix, and taste for salt.


This lets you en­joy the miso-as­para­gus com­bi­na­tion with­out all the whisk­ing palaver. I use this on an as­para­gus salad, some­times with the ad­di­tion of soba noo­dles. It’s good with spinach, beans and egg­plant, too. Ume­boshi is vine­gar made from sour plums. You can re­place it with 1½ tea­spoons of soy sauce and ½ tea­spoon of sherry vine­gar.

fresh gin­ger 30g/2 ta­ble­spoons white miso 1 ta­ble­spoon ume­boshi vine­gar 1 ta­ble­spoon wa­ter 1 ta­ble­spoon sesame oil

Grate the gin­ger finely to make about 1 tea­spoon, then whisk all the in­gre­di­ents to­gether.

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