This is one of those situations I have mentioned before where I, in my first year of blogging, reserve the right to do the obvious thing. The fact is when the winter coat goes into the loft and you really feel that spring has sprung, you just want asparagus and lamb. We have been conditioned in Brighton to equate these two ingredients with the resurgence of the sun. After months and months of dreary winter, of hearty stews and warming pies, suddenly one day you will discover you don’t need your scarf and will wish you had put your sunglasses in your handbag. And on that day, on that very day, you will find yourself putting some lamb chops in your basket and checking to see if the British asparagus has timed its arrival to perfection. And when that day comes, I say originality be damned…
For me that day came on 26th April (I’m seriously backlogged over here). It was just one of those lovely spring days. Sven and I had taken a cheeky days holiday to recover from the wedding we’d been to over the weekend. It was a gloriously lazy day, the sun was shining and we left our jackets at home as we strolled down to the shops. The asparagus was out. I simply had to have griddled asparagus and Hollandaise and I simply had to follow that with lamb chops. It was Spring.
Griddled asparagus with Hollandaise
A bunch of asparagus
For the Hollandaise:
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 dessertspoon lemon juice
- 1 dessertspoon white wine vinegar
- 4oz (110g) butter
- Salt and pepper
Firstly, Get your asparagus spears griddling and leave them to it, turning occasionally, whilst you get on with your Hollandaise sauce. I used Delia’s method of making the Hollandaise in a food processor, which is bloody genius. You got to love Delia, eh? Unless she’s telling you to use canned meat or vegetables that is.
Basically you let the food processor do all the mixing for you, which allows you to combine the ingredients really quickly ensuring the sauce doesn’t get too much heat. Start by putting your egg yolks in a bowl and season them with a pinch of salt and pepper. Put them in your food processor and blend them thoroughly for about 1 minute. Switch the food processor off and heat the lemon juice with the white wine vinegar in a small saucepan until it starts to bubble and simmer. Switch the processor back on again and drizzle the hot liquid on to the egg yolks in a slow, steady stream. Then switch the processor off.
Using the same saucepan as the lemon, melt the butter over a low heat. Don’t let it burn. When the butter is foaming, switch the processor on once more and again drizzle in the butter in a slow and steady trickle. When all the butter has been incorporated, blend the sauce for a little while longer until you have a thick and smooth buttery sauce.
Drizzle over your asparagus spears and tuck in. Divine.
Lamb chops marinated in wholegrain mustard, garlic and lemon
This is as simple as it looks, inspired by something Nigel Slater does. Just pound the garlic in a pestle and mortar with a couple of good pinches of sea salt. Then just stir in the juice of the lemon and a good few glugs of olive oil, with a few grinds of black pepper. Pour into an oven-proof dish and coat the chops completely in the marinade before leaving to marinate for a couple of hours.
Put the chops under a hot grill for a few minutes on each side (but not too long as you want them to be pink) then serve with the remaining marinade drizzled over the top. I served these lovely chops with creamy mashed potatoes and a simple salad tossed with a lemon and mustard dressing. Spring on a plate.