The Perfect Triumvirate: Salmon, Asparagus, and Hollandaise Sauce

By 4 m read

Finished salmon, asparagus, & Hollandaise sauce
Finished salmon, asparagus, & Hollandaise sauce (Photo by Erich Boenzli)

One of my favorite seasonal vegetables is asparagus. By seasonal, I mean as soon as they’re available fresh from California again, because the asparagus in our garden is still dormant. So, I extend my asparagus season and buy them at the supermarket.  What should I make with it?

Asparagus
Asparagus (Photo by Erich Boenzli)

A decadent homemade Hollandaise would be fantastic. But that’s a lot of butter, yes, really a lot. But wait, I could buy a healthy piece of salmon fillet or steak, and kinda balance out the whole good-for-you-food versus bad-for-you-food. And I’ll have a fantastic flavor combo which can be made in 30 minutes, from start to “wow, this is delicious!”  I’m sold!

 

Most salmon you’ll find in the store this time of the year will be farm-raised salmon, which is okay for our dish. As soon as wild sockeye or chinook is available (in summer), we’ll be talking about salmon carpaccio and salmon sushi.

 

But back to the task at hand: Don’t be afraid to make your own Hollandaise sauce from scratch. It takes 10 minutes and tastes incredible. All you need is a blender.

 

 

Ingredients (makes 2 servings and some leftover sauce – because you want that)

Salmon

  • Four (3-oz) salmon fillets (or two 6-oz salmon steaks)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked pepper

Asparagus

  • 3/4 lb green asparagus
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Hollandaise Sauce (1 cup)

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp hot water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup (1/2 lb) unsalted butter (I told you it’s a lot!)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper

Preparation

The Fish

Pat salmon fillet or steak dry with a paper towel, brush with soy sauce, add salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking dish and cook at 375℉ in a pre-heated oven for 15-25 minutes (depending on thickness).

Salmon on baking sheet (Photo by Erich Boenzli)
(Photo by Erich Boenzli)

Tip: After 15 minutes, use a fork and see if the fish flakes easily (or has reached 145℉) and is a nice opaque color.  Then it’s done.

 

The Vegetable

Steam lightly salted asparagus until “al dente.”

 

The Sauce

Combine the egg yolks, hot water, and lemon juice, and blend for 15 seconds. Melt butter in a small saucepan at low to medium heat, just until it starts to foam. Slowly add the melted butter to the running blender until everything is smooth, with the consistency of heavy cream.  Add cayenne and salt, and serve immediately.

Ingredients for Hollandaise sauce
Ingredients for Hollandaise sauce (Photo by Erich Boenzli)

Serve everything on pre-heated plates with a nice glass of your favorite Sauvignon Blanc. I’m curious what your favorite spring vegetable is that you can’t wait to find in your local store after a long winter? Any other wines you would recommend with this dish (without going all sommelier on me)?

Finished salmon, asparagus, & Hollandaise sauce
Finished salmon, asparagus, & Hollandaise sauce (Photo by Erich Boenzli)

Fun Asparagus Facts

  • Asparagus season lasts for 100 days; in California, that’s from mid-February until the end of May
  • It takes three years from seed to first harvest
  • Asparagus is a perennial plant from the lily family that can stay productive for 15-20 years
  • During season, asparagus sprout multiple spears every day
  • It only takes 24 hours for a spear to grow 9 inches (the length when it’s normally harvested)
  • Only 25% of people can smell “Asparagus pee.” It requires a special gene.
  • Asparagus was first cultivated by the Romans and then started to grow in popularity in Europe in the 16th Century
  • Don’t try to sound smart by saying “I’m serving spears of asparagi.” That would be the correct plural in Latin, but not in English.

 

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Finished salmon, asparagus, & Hollandaise sauce

The Perfect Triumvirate: Salmon, Asparagus, and Hollandaise Sauce

This fantastic flavor combo of salmon, asparagus, and Hollandaise sauce can be made in 30 minutes, from start to “wow, this is delicious!”
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

Salmon

  • Four 3-oz salmon fillets (or two 6-oz salmon steaks)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked pepper

Asparagus

  • 3/4 lb green asparagus
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Hollandaise Sauce

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp hot water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup (1/2-lb) unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

Instructions
 

Salmon

  • Preheat oven to 375℉,
  • Pat salmon steak dry with a paper towel, brush with soy sauce, and add salt and pepper. 
  • Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 15-25 minutes (depending on thickness). 

Asparagus

  • Steam lightly salted asparagus until “al dente.”

Hollandaise Sauce

  • Combine egg yolks, hot water, and lemon juice, and blend for 15 seconds.
  • Melt butter in a small saucepan at low to medium heat, just until it starts to foam.
  • Slowly add the melted butter to the running blender until everything is smooth, with the consistency of heavy cream.
  • Add cayenne and salt, and serve immediately on a pre-heated plate, with a nice glass of your favorite Sauvignon Blanc.

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