Asparagus with hollandaise: delicious Dalston

RidleylogonewEVERY WEEK I take £5  to Ridley Road Market in Dalston, Hackney, London E8 2LH, to spend on seasonal food, obviously not including items likely to be already in a kitchen, such as sauces, oil, herbs and spices. On Friday I tell you what Ive chosen and publish a seasonal recipe. The recipes will usually be frugal and always vegetarian. 

This week’s £5 basket, big picture below

Bunch asparagus £1

Bowl courgettes (4) £1

Bowl cherry tomatoes (too many to count) £1

Bowl peppers (6) £1

Bowl large onions (8) £1

Total £5


Asparagus with hollandaise sauce Serves 2. A spring classic that uses an English delicacy

My portable steamer goes inside the frying pan

Equipment: paring knife, peeler, steamer, small saucepan, bowl and whisk or blender. I do not have an asparagus steamer so I use a large lidded frying pan with a portable steamer placed inside, pictured. Wash all vegetables.

Preparation: asparagus —10 minutes, cooking 10 minutes. Hollandaise sauce — preparation 5 minutes, mixing 5 minutes

Ingredients: asparagus spears as many as you can eat at one sitting, 3 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, pinch cayenne, good pinch of salt, 100g melted butter.

Method: the spears of asparagus in my basket are thin and require little preparation, but if the stalks are thick, chop off the tough white ends and peel a thin layer of skin from each stalk. Place the asparagus in the steamer with enough water to cover the base but not covering the steamer and bring to the boil. Steam for 10 minutes until soft and keeping their shape. While the asparagus cooks, make the hollandaise sauce. Melt the butter gently in a saucepan. Put all the other ingredients in a blender or bowl and mix for 30 seconds. When the the butter has melted, add it slowly but steadily to the other ingredients mixing all the time. Then thoroughly blend.

I have cooked all my bunch of asparagus in one go because those that doesnt get eaten can be added to salads and sandwiches.

With the remaining food in my basket I shall make a roasted cherry tomato and onion soup. The courgettes will be used in one of my favourite salads  and added to a rice dish with the red peppers.

Tip: I visited Whitechapel Road market, opposite the Royal London Hospital at E1 1BB last week and saw the delicious Alphonso mango (Hapoos Amba) on sale. I hope this delicious fruit appears in Ridley Road soon because it is the best for flavour, scent and juiciness. The Alphonso season is so short that when it is in stock it is worth buying a box full. Restaurants naturally charge a premium. If you see some in a market, move quickly to buy them.

This week’s £5 basket: rich colours and good-value asparagus. But where are the mangoes?

* Two websites have recently written about Shooey’s column. Hackney Post has published an interview with Shooey, as has the Food Bankers. Hackney council journalist Marcel Reinard has made a jolly video about markets, including Ridley Road.— Ed.

* Emboldened, coloured words may indicate a hyperlink, a special service for Loving Dalston readers who may want to research a topic more deeply. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

Previous articles hyperlinked: 

Stuffed beef tomatoes with guacamole 10 May 2013Hackney snackney 3 May 2013Bell pepper salad 26 April 2013Gnocchi and tomato sauce with zucchini salad 19 April 2013Tomato soup with soda bread 12 April 2013;ridleystock2013n
Broccoli mornay 5 April 2013Easter redemption song 29 March 2013Less  is enough 22 March 2013A tart in the mart 15 March 2013; Polenta verde and sauté mushrooms 8 March 2013; Caribeasy 29 February 2013; Feeling fruity 22 February 2013; Kashmir delight 15 February 2013Samphire surprise 8 February 2013Two dishes from £5 1 February 2013Ae fond neep 25 January 2013Cauliflower cheese 18 January 2013Hackney frittata 11 January 2013;  Tasty and easy Christmas snack 21 December 2012The shops behind the market stalls 9 November 2012Chutney 2 November 2012;  Piccalilli 26 October 2012Golden soup 19 October 2012Roasted, stuffed squash 12 October 2012Vegetable curry 5 October 2012;Carrot and coriander soup 28 September 2012Ratatouille Gypsy stew 21 September 2012Bubble and squeak Shooey styleBakewell pudding 14 September 2012Coleslaw and radishes 7 September 2012Turkish spinach pie 31 August 2012Tomato tart, marinated aubergines, fresh mango chutney 24 August 2012Roasted butternut squash soup and beetroot salad 17 August 17 2012The column sets itself a challenge 15 August 2012

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