Name Asparagus hollandaise

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asparagus_cIngredients:
* 2lb 3oz/1kg medium asparagus
For the hollandaise:
* 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
* 1 small shallot, peeled and chopped
* Few sprigs of tarragon
* 1 bay leaf
* 5 peppercorns
* 7oz/200g unsalted butter
* 3 small egg yolks

Directions:
1. For the hollandaise, put the wine vinegar, shallot, herbs and peppercorns into a small pan with 3 tbsp water and reduce the liquid by boiling until there is no more than a dessertspoonful.
2. Strain the liquid through a sieve and leave to cool.
3. To clarify the butter, melt it slowly in a pan. Skim off the milky curds that rise to the surface, then simmer very gently for a minute or so.
4. Remove from the heat, leave to cool a little. The butter will separate into a yellow oil (the clarified butter) and white milky liquid at the bottom of the pan. Pour the clarified butter into a jug, and throw away the rest.
5. Put the egg yolks and half of the vinegar reduction in a small heat-proof bowl. Set over a pan of gently simmering water and whisk, using a hand-held electric beater, for three minutes or so, until the mixture turns butter colour and mousse-like.
6. Slowly trickle in the butter, whisking continuously. (If the butter is added too quickly, the sauce will separate, and the only way to save it is to start again with another egg yolk, whisked with a teaspoonful of water, and add the curdled mixture drop by drop.)
7. When you've added two-thirds of the butter, taste the sauce and add a little more, or all, of the remaining vinegar reduction. Then add the rest of the butter. The sauce shouldn't be too vinegary, but the vinegar should just cut the oiliness of the butter. (In fact, at home I found I needed a little more vinegar.)
8. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm, but not hot, place until needed.
9. For the asparagus, bring a pan of well-salted water to the boil. Trim off the tough ends of the asparagus, then add to the pan.
10. Cook in gently simmering salted water for 4-5 minutes or until just tender. Drain and arrange on warm plates.
11. Either spoon the hollandaise sauce over the tips of the asparagus, or serve separately in small bowls.
12. Eat with your fingers; it tastes much better.

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