As a lover of all things local and seasonal, managing director of award-winning caterers - Beales Gourmet at The Italian Villa - Tony Beales, shares one of his favourite recipes making use of the incredible asparagus from right here on the cusp of the New Forest.

Tony has also recently launched FOODIE – his Fine Dining Society, and a free club for all local fine wining and dining enthusiasts. Read more at


Serves 4 people

•             2 bunches of fresh, local asparagus

•             5 free range eggs

•             Ciabatta or sourdough bread

•             Truffle oil

•             Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

•             Herbs for decoration (micro basil)

For the Hollandaise sauce

•             2 free range egg yolks

•             35cl white wine vinegar

•             1x 250g pack of salted butter

•             Truffle oil

•             Juice from ½ a lemon

•             Black pepper corns

•             1 Bay leaf


Wash and peel the asparagus, you will need approximately 5 medium spears per person.

Cook in boiling salted water for approximate 45-60 seconds depending on the size. I like to leave a slight crunch to the asparagus. Once cooked, plunge into icy water, drain and dry, then season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and truffle oil. Leave at room temperature while you prepare everything else.

Simmer the butter for approximately 30-40 minutes and remove all the impurities that float to the top. Once clarified, leave to cool slightly before pouring into the yolks.

While the butter is clarifying, prepare the vinegar reduction by simmering the white wine vinegar, peppercorns and bay leaf until it has reduced by half. Strain over the egg yolks and whisk in a round-bottomed bowl over a water bath until light and fluffy. Make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water or else the yolks will overcook and scramble.

Then whisk the butter slowly into the yolk mixture to complete the Hollandaise sauce. Add a little warm water if the sauce is too thick. The sauce needs to be light and smooth so that it coats the poached egg when you plate up.

Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and truffle oil. Toast your chosen bread to make a crostini: we use ciabatta but sour dough would also go very nicely with this dish.

Finally, soft poach 5 eggs in simmering salted water (with a dash of vinegar in). I always do an extra egg in case one breaks. Drain the eggs and assemble the dish straight away.

For plating up suggestions, watch the video online at

Bon appetit