Monday, April 16, 2012

Asparagus Season and Some Tips

Asparagus head with Hollandaise Sauce

Usually, there are already plenty of roadside stalls and open air markets, selling the white asparagus between March and April. Spargelzeit (Asparagus season) officially ends on June 24, no more, no less.

This year, it is already April. Yet most sellers are saying they are lucky if they would have asparagus delivered to them at all! Of course, all restaurants would have added asparagus in their menu, this time, too.

Anyway, the first time I saw the white asparagus here in Germany, I was a bit sceptic. Then I was asked to taste it, and it tasted like... hmmm... water??? I don't know, but that's the first thing that came to mind because it is juicy.

Of course, I told my in-laws (who urged me to taste the asparagus) that it was delicious! What I would do to be loved ;-) Actually, it tasted great because I poured loads of Sauce Hollandaise.

Before that, I only ever saw the green ones, and I wasn't really a big fan of asparagus.

It has been more than ten years and I am now a convert. I love asparagus, really love it! And I love that we get to cruise the countryside whenever we buy our asparagus.

Now, you should be here in Germany during asparagus season. You would be amazed how popular the white asparagus are. The white asparagus are those that are grown under the soil, that is why they are pale; and they turn green if they grow out of the soil. You would recognize those asparagus fields because they are covered with black sheets to accumulate heat, and they have a special heaped form.

Here are my tips in buying asparagus:
- Buy the asparagus directly from the farmers, those outlying asparagus farms offer better prices (and gives discounts) than those street stalls.
- Asparagus with thicker sprouts are more expensive because they taste better. We always buy the thinner ones to save, they taste good, too.
- Most sellers provide peeling service, too. But you have to pay extra for that.
- Use a potato peeler if you want to peel the asparagus on your own but you needs a bit of practice to correctly handle it.
- To save, you can buy in bulk for a special discount. Then peel them and freeze them in portion.
- Do not throw those asparagus ends, you could use them for your soup.
- Do not throw the water where you boiled the asparagus, you could use them for asparagus soup.
- You could also buy the asparagus heads only, but usually, you need to call to reserve a pack if you need more than one kilo (we buy them because the girls prefer the head, for now).

How to cook asparagus:
- Wash and peel the asparagus. Bring water to boil in a deep pot. Put the asparagus and cook around 20 minutes. Asparagus is cooked when the end bends slightly when lifting it. Then skim off the asparagus.

We just add the ready-to-cook Hollandaise Sauce as seen from the photo above.

Our favorite side dish with Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce (or melted butter) are simple:
- Boiled Potatoes with Different Kinds of Ham
- Pancake (different kinds)
- Smoked Salmon
- Mini burger
- Scrambled Egg

There are more ways to cook asparagus, but we prefer these simple side dishes because we want to savour the taste of the asparagus :-)

Here's the recipe for Pan-Fried Green Asparagus with Noodles.

1 comment:

Carole said...

Since you like asparagus, you might be interested in this collection of all things asparagus. Asparagus Food on Fridays