Tuesday, July 1, 2008

White Asparagus

This is a very untimely post (about 1.5 months tardy). White asparagus season has come and gone in Deutschland, and delicious meals were had by all.

White Asparagus = Weiss Spargel

To be honest, I'm sure we have white asparagus in the states, but I'd never seen it. Or rather, I'd never noticed it before. It's a 'season' in Germany. They love it over here. Probably because it's a local product, whereas a lot of produce these days is imported. Or maybe they just love their weiss spargel. Whatever the reason, during the season, restaurants have special menus with white asparagus soup, salads, pasta dishes, sides, and even deserts. I kid you not.

Hey it's good, so I'll never complain! Bring on the weiss spargel and keep it coming!! It's also pretty fun to get caught up in the hype.

However, preparing white asparagus is a bit trickier than it's cousin - the green asparagus.

White asparagus is usually grown underground, and develops a tough outer skin. To cook it, you have to peel the outer skin. But let me tell you, it's not easy to peel without snapping the spear. Tricky business.
Left side, peeled. Right side, before peeling.

White Asparagus

1 bunch white asparagus
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

When buying your white asparagus - the stalks should be thick, and firm (not easily bendable).

Wash, and peel, using a carrot peeler. You don't need to peel the tips, but all the way up to the tips. Be careful, as the stalks like to snap in half. Cut 1-2 inches off the bottom of each spear.

Heat a medium saucepan of water to boil (use enough water to cover the asparagus while boiling). Add 1 tablespoon butter, sugar and salt. Let butter warm and spread into the water.

Add aparagus spears to water and boil 5-7 minutes. Once a fork is inserted without resistance, they are done. If you like them crisper, or 'al dente' (can you use that term, not related to pasta?), you should check them sooner.

Drain and put on a plate. Place 1 tablespoon butter over the top to melt, breaking it up to coat most of the spears. Sprinkle with fresh pepper, and serve.

Guten appetit!

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