White Asparagus Is the Winner For Its Delicate Taste
White Asparagus vs. Green Asparagus, it is an ongoing debate. White Asparagus seems to take top seed in Germany. In the markets throughout Germany we predominantly found white at the beginning of the season and then green a bit later on. In the States we find that green is readily available and when we find white, it is quite often splaying and dried out at the cut end. For some reason it is not that popular in the States amongst the general eating population. Let me rephrase that, it is not found in the grocery stores; people might want to eat it more if it looked more appetizing. We love its delicate taste. Steamed, roasted in foil in the oven, sautéed with a touch of garlic and a dash of soy sauce, hands down after eating so much white asparagus this spring, it outweighs the desire for green. White asparagus is found in specialty markets and at farmer’s markets. In Germany there are several regions known for their Spargel (Asparagus) growing. It is a national celebration when it hits the grocery store produce bins, the farm stands and the specialty markets. Restaurants display the daily asparagus menu, specifying the white, early season dishes that have been made for the day. Novel ways appear in slightly avant grade ways, but for the most part, the asparagus is serves with boiled new potatoes, thick Hollandiase and a side of prosciutto or Jamón Serrano.
The reason that White Asparagus is White
It is kept in the dark. Really. It is covered with dirt in order to prevent it from seeing the light of day. Without the sunlight, it cannot photosynthesize and therefore does not produce its green pigment.
What’s the best way to cook Asparagus?
That depends on how it going to be eaten. The French favor a vinaigrette. The Americans steamed and void of calories (and flavor, fat makes for good flavor). and the Germans and Dutch serve it with a generous amount of Hollandiase or browned butter. Delicate flavor on delicate flavor is a nice break from the overly Tabasco-ed dishes found on many a restaurant menu. Some swear by the standup steamers that are broken out once a year to make the fresh asparagus retain their flavor. There is a school of thought that roasting is the purest way to cook it. And others claim that a creamy soup is the way to go. So the answer to the question is that there is not a best way, and it really depends on the eater’s and chef’s preferences.
Where is Asparagus grown and where is the best place to buy it?
These days most of the Asparagus grown in the USA comes from California, Michigan and New Jersey. Year after year, more is imported from South America and China, In Germany and Holland, where it is consumed on a daily basis for weeks on end, it is always fresh and the ends still moist, the grocery chains can be as good a source for the fresh stalks as a farm stand (a farm stand is a store at a farm vs a farmer’s market, where there are many vendors from different farms and producers). In the USA where it is shipped great distances and is not considered to be a national food (making that up, but from the celebrations surrounding it in Europe, one would think it is), I would suggest making a trip to a farmer’s market or farm stand for the freshest purchase. Stalks should be firm to the touch, not dried to the point of splaying at the end, and look like they were cut within the last 24 hours. The advantage of the farm’s and farmer’s markets is that they may have been up at 3am to prep their harvest to bring to market.
Of course it is good for you…
On Health.com there is a list of 10 reasons why to eat more asparagus. It claims that the green is the one to eat, but we advocate for the white as well. The article states vitamins, minerals, protein and such are found it what it deems a “superfood.”
“vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron,
copper, calcium, protein, and fiber.” Health.com (accessed 6/21/18)
From weight loss claims to certified antioxidant properties, asparagus should hit your plate when it’s in season.
Hollandiase Sauce does not need to be difficult to make
Ending the fear of making Hollandiase Sauce, due to the high potential to scramble the eggs, the Bleuberet Hollandaise recipe is easy and the chance of failure slim. The basic go to method of steaming is our favorite way to prepare asparagus.
One step further in the Bleuberet kitchen this year with the asparagus inspiration:
- 2 lbs/1KG white or green asparagus, prepare according to steamed asparagus recipe link
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- 8 oz/225g mascarpone
- 4 fl oz/125 ml EVOO
- 1 fl oz/30 ml white wine or champagne vinegar
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper
Prepare asparagus according to recipe in link above.
To prepare eggs:
Place eggs in a saucepan.
Add cold water that comes about 1"/2.5cm above the eggs.
Bring to a boil and turn off heat. Allow eggs to sit for about 10 minutes in the hot water. This will cook them to the point where the egg yolk remains yellow-a green tinge means that the egg is overcooked.
Drain water from the pot and immediately run under cold water.
Peel and place eggs in bowl. Mash with a fork to crumble. Set aside.
To prepare vinaigrette:
Blend EVOO, vinegar, dried thyme, salt and pepper. Blend. (It will separate, mix again before serving).
To assemble to meal:
Place spears of asparagus on plates or on a serving platter.
Scatter the crumbled egg over the asparagus.
Place a dollap of mascarpone on the asparagus.
Mix the vinaigrette again, and drizzle over the top of the mascarpone, egg and asparagus.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Add some boiled potatoes and sliced ham or prosciutto, a crusty loaf of French bread, and dinner is served.