It’s now the white asparagus season. The asparagus season is a big thing in Germany, Netherlands, France and Belgium, it starts end of April and ends end of June. Every restaurants has a menu promoting their white asparagus dishes from asparagus kroketten to asparagus as main.
On the first day of arriving in Maastricht, the first meal at home was the Limburg asparagus boiled and served with patatoes, cooked ham and an egg. It was yummy. I wish white asparagus could be available all year round.
The dish is very simple to make, however I am not sure if you can find it in Asia during the season.
Ingredients (for each person):
- 8 white asparagus
- 50 gram cooked ham – 2 pieces
- 1 egg
- 2 potatoes
- Nutmeg powder (optional)
First, you need to choose the good quality white asparagus, they should have this white glowing look. To break asparagus (this technic works for all other asparagus as well), hold your right hand (if you are right handed) to the root end and left hand hold 2/3 down from the other end and bend the asparagus. The asparagus will break at the point where the dry part meets the fresh and moist part.
Peel the skin carefully. Since the white asparagus is grown covered in the soil without meeting sun to avoid the photosyntesis process, the skin is white in colour, just like the meat. Make sure all the skin are off or the skin will ruin the taste of the dish.
Before cooking the asparagus, start boiling your potatoes (whole, without pealing or cutting) ahead of everything else. It takes up to 20 minutes to have the potatoes properly cooked. Boiled potatoes should be started with cool water, this will allow for better and more even heat penetration. Add 1 tablespoon salt into the water at the beginning.
Boil your egg in a separate pot for 7 minutes. When the egg is done, put it in cold water immediately and this will make pealing the eggs shell easier.
In another separate pot, put in sufficient water (needs to cover the asparagus), add some salt, wait for the water to boil and put in your asparagus. The official boiling time for asparagus is 12 minutes, you can boil it slightly longer if you like it more cooked. Personally I prefer it 12 minutes.
Now the potatoes should be ready, pour away the water, let them dry a few seconds, add a chunk of butter on the potatoes, close the lid and let it melt in the steam. Do the same to your asparagus at the end of boiling. Separately, also melt some butter (you can do this less messy in microwave, one less pan to wash!).
Now assemble the egg, ham, asparagus and potatoes on your plate. Pour the melted butter on your asparagus and sprinkle some parsley and nutmeg powder on the asparagus too. Apparently too much nutmeg powder will make one high *wink wink*, don’t OD yourself with it on purpose.
Now, let’s move to the technique of eating this dish. Mesh the potatoes, egg and ham together, mix well. Some white asparagus fanatic eater would spend 5 minutes just in the meshing up process (!), some people are very serious about the white asparagus eating. You can now eat your asparagus together with the meshed ingredients.
Most people don’t do this if they are eating the dish in a restaurant, supposedly meshing the food in your plate is not a good table manner practice. But if you are eating this at home, do it!
If you do see the white asparagus in your supermarket (there might be some chances to find them in Cold Storage before the season finish), try this white asparagus. Here they eat the dish as lunch or dinner, I can eat this for breakfast!