Grilled Asapagus with Sauce Maltaise

Grilled Asparagus with Sauce Maltaise

Spring brings so many wonderful ingredients together, including two of my favourites, new season asparagus and blood oranges – and I love to combine them in this dish. Being one of the classic ‘mother sauces’ of French cuisine, Hollandaise (a warm emulsification of eggs, butter and lemon juice) is the foundation for many variations, including the classic sauce Maltaise (Maltese sauce) which replaces some of the lemon juice with the juice of blood oranges. Why Maltese? I can only assume that Malta, like neighbouring Sicily, is famous for its blood oranges. You can create a richer sauce that will hold more butter by hand whisking chilled butter into the egg yolks over a bain marie, but I like this quick and easy method using a blender. With a further nod to spring, garnish with edible flowers, like nasturtiums, if you like. With this orange sauce, I found a happy match in an orange wine, Esoterico from Unico Zelo in the Adelaide Hills. See video below for another classic French sauce that’s delicious with raw or drilled vegetables.

Serves 4 as a starter

Ingredients
  • 30 spears asparagus, trimmed
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Salt flakes, to taste

 

Sauce Maltaise

  • 3 egg yolks (see below)
  • 1½ tablespoons strained blood orange juice
  • ½ tablespoon strained lemon juice
  • 125g butter
  • Salt flakes, to taste
Method
  1. Toss asparagus with a generous drizzle of oil so they’re well coated.
  2. Cook on a ridged barbecue plate of char-grill pan for a few minutes, turning occasionally, until they have grill marks all over.
  3. Meanwhile, make Sauce Maltaise: combine yolks and half the blood orange juice. Melt butter and, while it’s still hot, pour it into the blender with the motor running, leaving behind the milky residue in the bottom of the pan. Blend in remaining blood orange juice, lemon juice and salt.
  4. Transfer asparagus to a platter, sprinkle with salt and top with Sauce Maltaise.

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