Asparagus is quite popular all over the place. Nevertheless, the Germans can call their country the home of asparagus. Especially where I come from – the Eastern part of Westphalia, we have some really good asparagus!
The asparagus season is very short – May and June – so it is high time to cook some of this delicate vegetable! I wonder, why it is so delicious – containing water to 93%… I have no answer to this question, however, I can tell it is! And healthy at that!!
Asparagus is known for its dewatering and purging effect and also low in calories: 150 in 1 kg of the vegetable! It contains a high number of mineral nutrients and vitamins. And…if you’re planning a candle light dinner, intending to seduce the man or woman of your dreams, why not try asparagus, a genuine aphrodisiac…
I do not want to go into detail with the asparagus itself, because the preparation is simple and maybe you ‘re already quite experienced in cooking it. However, there are different ways of preparation and after having tried several of them I find, the following is the best:
How to cook asparagus
- Put some salt and a dash of sugar into a pot of cold water. Add the (pealed) asparagus.
- Boil it up. Afterwards, remove the pot from the hot plate and just brew the asparagus for another 20 minutes. If you like it more „al dente“, then you’ re done! I prefer it a little softer, so I boil it up shortly again at the end.
Asparagus dishes are varied a lot according to the region. With green sauce (a cold herb sauce) in Hesse, with pancakes in Baden-Wuerttemberg, with smoked ham in Westphalia and – what I like most: With slices of cooked ham, potatoes and melted butter in Franconia.
My husband Peter doesn’t like asparagus. I can hardly understand that! Yesterday I took advantage of his absence and invited a friend for dinner.
Of course, I chose the `cooked ham and potatoes variation’, but instead of just melted butter I decided to prepare a hollandaise sauce, as I have been keen on trying this for a long time. And you know what? It worked 🙂
Recipe for Hollandaise Sauce
- 2 shallots
- 1 tsp of oil
- 100 ml white wine
- 100 ml asparagus water
- ½ tsp of dried tarragon
- 1 teaspoon of peppercorns
- 1 small bay leaf
- 150 g butter
- 4 egg yolks
- cayenne pepper
- lemon juice
- Dice the shallots. Heat the oil in a cooking pot, add the shallots and fill it up with the wine and the asparagus water (I started with the sauce, as the stock can easily be prepared in advance; and just boiled up some peel of the asparagus to produce my ‘asparagus water’).
- Add the tarragon, the pepper and the bay leaf. Reduce the stock to 120 ml and infuse it for 15 minutes. Boil the butter up in a cooking pan and let it cool down a little bit.
- Now you can put the egg yolks in a metal bowl and add the shallot stock by pouring it through a fine sieve. Mix it with an whisk and put the bowl over a hot water bath whisking all the time. The mass will get thicker and creamy. After a while, slowly add the butter and continue whisking, until the sauce is really creamy. Make sure to not heat it up too much, otherwise the sauce will curdle.
- Season the sauce with salt, cayenne pepper and some lemon juice. Enjoy your meal!
Concerning myself, I always use to confuse all those types of sauce for the asparagus. What is the difference between sauce béarnaise and hollandaise sauce? What at all is sauce maltaise?? I had not been aware of the variety!
So let’s make a detour in the world of sauces..I found this clarification in my favourite cooking magazine ‘Essen und Trinken‘, my sister already talked about.
As described in the recipe above. This is the most simple one, originally even not containing tarragon.
Prepare the hollandaise sauce and add some chopped fresh tarragon and chervil in the end.
Add 1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard and 1 tbspn whipped cream to the hollandaise sauce
Hollandaise sauce with 1-2 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp whipped cream
Hollandaise sauce with 2-3 tbsp blood orange juice and 1-2 tsp of orange zest
Pluck the leaves of 100 g of mixed herbs (parsley, chervil, tarragon) and spinach from the stipes. Blanch them in boiling salt water, then refresh them in cool water and drain well. Cut the herbs finely. Purée the greens with the half of the hollandaise sauce with a hand blender and mix it with the rest of the sauce.
All right now? So have a nice asparagus season!