Rich, buttery Bearnaise sauce gets one-upped by replacing tarragon with the stronger licorice flavour of aniseed. And what better way to fully appreciate this sauce than by pouring over crisp-tender verdant spears of freshly steamed asparagus?
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup (60 ml) red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
2 tablespoons (30 ml) aniseed, toasted and ground finely in a spice grinder, plus more for garnish
Salt and pepper
4 large egg yolks
1 cup (240 ml) butter, melted and kept warm over lowest heat
Warm water to thin the sauce, as needed
Chopped chives, for garnish
2 bunches asparagus
Salt, to season
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the shallot, vinegar, lemon juice, and aniseed. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until the liquid is almost evaporated eight to 10 minutes.
Let cool and reserve.
In a medium bowl set over a double boiler, whisk the egg yolks until pale and slightly thickened, four to five minutes.
Add the reserved shallot mixture and whisk to combine. Cook while constantly whisking for another two minutes.
Slowly ladle in the melted butter, whisking constantly until the sauce is emulsified.
Use warm water to thin out the sauce, if needed.
Keep just warm until needed. Monitor temperature closely and stir from time to time if not using the sauce immediately.
In the bottom half of a steamer pan, bring water to a boil.
Trim the dry ends from the asparagus. Peel the ends of each spear lightly with a vegetable peeler.
Place the asparagus in the top half of the steamer pan. Cover and steam until crisp-tender, four to five minutes.
Transfer the steamed and asparagus to serving plates. Season with salt.
Remove the Aniseed Bearnaise from the heat and ladle over the Steamed Asparagus.