It’s Asparagus time!
White asparagus is something that isn’t as popular as the green variety in the UK, and I don’t know why. It’s so much sweeter and has less of a nutty taste so quite different from green asparagus. It’s always worth a try when it (rarely) appears on a menu here.
But in Germany it’s a different story. We have handily timed a few trips there when it’s ‘Spargelzeit’ AKA ‘Asparagus time’. Temporary stalls selling white asparagus can be found on shopping streets while bars and restaurant menus are filled with asparagus options ranging from a simple dish of white asparagus and potatoes with a hollandaise sauce to soufflé and even pizza.
Here’s asparagus pizza from Brauhaus Sudstern in south Berlin.
And the more traditional asparagus with potatoes and hollandaise at Sophieneck bar, also in Berlin.
What to look for when buying white asparagus
Look at the cut ends. They shouldn’t be dry, there should be some moisture.
Are the asparagus spears straight and white? The straighter and whiter they are, the more you should expect to pay.
Buy fresh. Asparagus doesn’t keep well. It will last a maximum of a day or two from purchase.
Don’t handle the asparagus a lot. They are gentle little things.
Wrap asparagus loosely in a damp kitchen towel and keep in the fridge.
Preparing and cooking asparagus
White asparagus has a fibrous exterior so it must be peeled. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin.
Once prepared, the best way to cook asparagus is by steaming or boiling it. There’s no need to buy a special asparagus pot (although this does cook the stems evenly). Lay the stems flat in boiling water to cook.
Ideas on how to serve white asparagus include:
Thinly sliced cooked ham.
Boiled, new potatoes.
slices of lemon
Whatever way you serve them, enjoy!