I still managed to over-cook the asparagus a bit, but still it was very nice. The kettle consists of a narrow, but tall pot with a wire basket. The idea is to place the asparagus standing up in the basket, with the tips above the water edge. That way, both the stems and the tips should be ready at the same time.
This I worked out and will try next time, as I left the basket in the pot while bringing the water to boil and then dropped the asparagus in and it went through the holes on the sides. What I should have done is to place the asparagus stems in the basket, place the basket in the pot and measure up water to be below the tips. Then take the basket out, bring the water to boil and put the basket back in for 3 - 4 minutes, depending on how thick the stems are.
I quite like to dip the asparagus in Hollandaise sauce, but I didn't have any today, so improvised the following, based on what we'd had at Fred & Ginger's some time ago.
4 tbsp pine nuts
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1.5 tbsp dried mint
- I roasted the pine nuts in a dry pan for a couple of minutes, stirring vigorously to avoid burning them.
- As soon as sizzling noises started and the pine nuts looked sweaty, I transferred them to the mortar and pestle and ground them very coarsley - a couple of minutes, then I got tired.
- In a bowl, I mixed all the ingredients, at which point the asparagus was ready.