Asparagus with White Butter Sauce

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Times Calendar Cookbook

By Katie Stewart

Published 1977

  • About

Hot asparagus is usually served with melted butter; a white butter sauce is similar but a little more complicated to prepare. It’s a soft butter sauce which has the texture of cream, subtly flavoured with shallot and sharpened with vinegar. Not a sauce to make for a crowd, but definitely as a treat for two.


  • 1 bundle fresh asparagus


    Scrape the asparagus stalks, rinse and trim level. Retie in a bundle for boiling with a 2.5-cm(1-in) gauze bandage. The asparagus can’t slip out and the gauze won’t cut into the stems. Place in a saucepan of boiling salted water and simmer for 10 minutes with the bundle standing upright, then for a further 10 minutes downwards in the pan on its side.

    Meanwhile peel and finely chop the shallot. Place in a saucepan with the vinegar. Heat gently until the shallot is tender and the vinegar has almost evaporated – take care not to allow any scorching. Draw off the heat. Add the butter (which has been well chilled and cut into 15-g (½-oz) pieces) one or two pieces at a time, whisking well. As the butter softens in the hot pan it takes on the texture of thin cream. Serve at once with the hot, well-drained asparagus.