Spring is heralded in Munich not only by the sudden explosion of green leaves and spring flowers, but by the arrival on every market stand of the the highly coveted spargel – or thick stems of white asparagus. While everybody has a favourite region or supplier, it is roundly considered that the cream of the crop comes from the region of Schrobenhausen, a farming area about 70 kilometres from Munich.
Prices are carefully watched as in the early part of the short season it is outrageously expensive – then at the decisive moment when the price is right and the spargel at the peak of freshness the time has come to buy a kilo or two to bring home.
There are many exotic and inventive recipes for white asparagus, but to my mind, a seasonal delicacy like to needs to be enjoyed in as pure a state as possible – the classic pairing of asparagus with hollandaise sauce is a luxurious lunch, while the rich and comforting ‘Spargelcremesuppe’ or cream of asparagus soup, served with some crusty dark bread is wonderfully appetising.
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
for the hollandaise:
- 100 g butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 Tbsp white wine
- salt & pepper
- lemon juice
for the filling:
- 1 kg fresh white asparagus
- 1 lemon quartered
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ham, or prosciutto
- flat leaf parsley
- Peel the asparagus, keeping the peels to the side, then trim off any woody ends. Fresh and good quality asparagus should need very little trimmed off so start with half a centimetre and trim more as necessary.
- Place the asparagus the peels in a wide, flat saucepan, and cover with water so it is completely submerged. Add the lemon, sugar and salt to the water, then cover, and bring to the boil. As soon as the water is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the asparagus is completely tender when pricked with a fork.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan, skimming off any milk solids that rise to the top with a spoon. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Place the egg yolks and white wine in a heatproof bowl and set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk well until thick and creamy, then remove from the heat.
- Pour the butter into the egg mixture, at first drop by drop, then in a thin stream, whisking well all the time. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice, then set the bowl back over the pot of hot water (with the heat turned off) to keep warm.
- Serve the asparagus with hollandaise on the side and some ham and parsley on the side.
Make sure you keep the cooking water as the next day it can be turned into a lovely rich asparagus cream soup - take the lemon slices out after cooking the asparagus though as if left too long they can make the soup bitter.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 694Total Fat: 51gSaturated Fat: 29gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 345mgSodium: 2750mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 11gSugar: 15gProtein: 34g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I choose the best asparagus?
When choosing asparagus, choose thick, fresh-looking stems you can and make sure the cut ends are not too dry. Unlike green asparagus, white asparagus needs to be peeled before cooking so a very thin stem will end up whittled down to nothing. Make sure to keep the peels for the cooking water – they may be too woody to eat but they are still full of delicious flavour.
Can I make this recipe with green asparagus?
Of course! You don’t need to peel it and it cooks for a much shorter time, 5 minutes at the most.