Sauces for asparagus

Champagne Sauce

This is a quick, delicate sauce to spoon around or over asparagus

1 medium shallot, minced
1/2 cup dry champagne (may substitute a dry white sparkling wine)
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons  unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Combine the shallot, champagne and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the mixture starts to bubble, cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced by about a third.
Add the cream and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened slightly — enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the saucepan from the heat, but keep the burner on, reducing it to low heat.

Whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time; return the saucepan to a burner (low heat) if the butter is not melting easily.   Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl, if using right away, discarding any solids; or into such a bowl suspended over a pan with a few inches of water (over medium-low heat) to keep the sauce warm (for up to 30 minutes) until ready to serve.