Beurre Noir

Do you have any idea how hard it is to make a decent sauce to go with asparagus – which isn’t Hollandaise Sauce?

Try as I might to get my boyfriend to love it, he just can’t see the point of asparagus.

“Why?  I don’t get what you lot [i.e. asparagus enthusiasts] find so interesting about this stuff.  It’s just…” he trails off, waving a fork with a pierced stalk of green about in the air with a puzzledly-disgusted expression.

Now, I can’t exactly explain it to you myself.  I claim it’s ‘delicious’ when prompted, but this isn’t necessarily what I mean.  Sure it has a lovely mild taste and all, but what exactly draws me to it?  I haven’t a clue.  Certainly not the smell in the bathroom afterwards, that’s for sure.

Yet I’m wildly enthusiastic that it’s ‘Spargel Season‘ here in Germany – the mere mention of the word on the menu outside a restaurant door draws me inside like nothing else can (except, perhaps, the magic words “Conan O’Brien will be appearing here tonight”).

In my quest to convert my less-than-enthusiastic hausherr, somehow I’m fixated on the idea that the perfect sauce will be enough to make him crave it as much as I do.  (“… and then you woke up,” I can just hear him smirking as he utters his oft-quipped aside).

Perhaps… Beurre Noir


INGREDIENTS – 1/4 lb. of butter, 1 tablespoonful of minced parsley, 3 tablespoonfuls of vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.


Slap butter into pan.  Heat to a very high temperature.  Let it ”smoke” for a few seconds before tossing in the parsley (I wasn’t brave enough for this, having set off the fire alarm once too many times in recent months – so I just let it get a little brown before adding the parsley).  Slosh in the vinegar (stand back, I nearly got burned by angrily-sizzling vinegar droplets) and add a pinch of salt & pepper.  Stir for a minute, then douse it over asparagus and serve.

“That’s a lot of butter isn’t it?” commented my boyfriend.

“Yeah, I’m doing Mrs Beeton again.”

“I figured, with all that butter!”

Despite the hissing and fizzling and spitting, the finished sauce is very tame indeed.  Possibly a little too tame for my liking – a mild, mild tang and a waist-taunting pool of melted butter.


Buerre Noir (Recipe 374):


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