12 Myths about Asparagus

With the Kobold Racer in the trenches ditch there is not much left to do but cooking.
OK: timing is not that bad, as it is this magical time of year again .
You will probably not credit me for being very original, but hey how can you not be taken in by May.
Even the most hard core junk food addict cannot avoid eating something fresh.
May is simply gargantuan, wild garlic, strawberries, fresh herring, sorrel. Mint. Apricots. And mythical Asparagus. No Vegetable has lend itself more to legends and fairy tales than Asparagus (No no no! That apple in the bible is A: a pomegranate and B: a FRUIT!) and here are the most common myths about it:1: WHITE Asparagus is best. It is even better if it comes from the holy ground of Germany’s sacred fields of the South.
Ugh.
White asparagus is fantastic, it is white because the spears have not seen sunlight unlike the green or purple kind. I love the white variety as it is usual succulent, tasty and somehow very refined in taste but only when it’s really fresh: therefore buy local varietes. Trust me: very fresh local asparagus from a lesser well known area will certainly taste better than asparagus from a famous area which has travelled for a day or even longer.
As to the colour: the green, the purple and the white: are the blondes better than the reds or the brunettes??
Ahhhhh!
A question of TASTE..
2: Asparagus is an aphrodisiac.
People who believe in traditional medicine will say: “Scientifically it has not been proven that….bla bla bla…“
Go away.
Or show me anything edible which is more elegant and sexy at the same time.
3: Asparagus eaten raw is toxic.
Not true, but uncooked asparagus does not have the wonderful typical taste.
It needs to be cooked to develop taste.4: Asparagus must be boiled.
Please steam it if you can: it tastes soooo much better! And if you really have to boil it in water: please please please don‘t overcook!!!! The rule is: if the asparagus bends slightly when pronged on a fork it‘s perfect. If it starts hanging over it‘s totally overdone and in that case don‘t invite me . I HATE overdone fibrous, spongy, soft Asparagus-mash.
Crunchy juicy yum yum yum, that´s what I like.5: Asparagus should not be frozen.
You CAN freeze it: but what for? It will not make it taste better and the best about seasonal produce is longing for it!6: Asparagus should be cooked standing upright, with the heads outside of the waterline. Yes. Add half a teaspoon of salt some butter and lemon against discoloration. And don‘t use Pots made of aluminium. Use steel.
7: Asparagus is a typical german vegetable.
Originating in Asia Minor, it travelled via Persia and Egypt to Europe. It was the Romans (yet, again) who farmed it first and we only started growing it in the 16 century.
8: Asparagus makes your Urine smell.
Only for 40 % of the population, lacking some enzyme connected to digesting it. If you’re part of these 40%. Tough luck. Yet things could be worse.9: Asparagus will taste great whatever you drink with it.
Sorry again but red wine and beer contain tanning agents which will make asparagus taste really bitter. Go for white. Or Water. (ouch? I have to write this, don‘t I? for political correctness?))10: Asparagus grown under foil will taste musty.
Apparently no difference here. But who am I to say?
11: Cut ends looking fresh are an indicator for freshness.
No again. It just means they are freshly cut…
Fresh Asparagus should be firm, the ends juicy when squeezed lightly, you should be able to scratch it easily with you fingernail.
12: Asparagus is best enjoyed with Sauce hollandaise.
Everybody loves Sauce hollandaise and it IS really easy to make BUT: there is nothing in the world more satisfying than Asparagus with Butter and Parmesan! On Toast. Unbelievably easy! Unbelievably delicious!!!!
The best and quickest lunch ever:
1 slice of nice bread. Somehow wholegrain is better…
5 spears asparagus
Lots of butter
Lots of parmesan.
Steam or boil the asparagus till ready but still CRUNCHY! (crunchy crunchy.)
Toast bread and butter on both sides (the meltier the merrier)
Place spears on bread.
Add more butter.
Slice parmesan on top.
season with salt and pepper.
And invite me for lunch.
Please.

15 Comments

  1. Hubertus says:

    NIEMALS REINPICKEN!!! Und mit den Händen essen!!! Alles andere ist total panne!

  2. Hubertus says:

    Weißer Spargel ausm Vorgebirge in Salzwasser gedämpft, Hollandaise mit Zitronen-Schalottenreduktion, Wacholder-Kochschinken nicht zu dick geschnitten, Flädle mit Schnittlauch und Muskat in Butter gebraten dazu und ein Glas Forster Ungeheuer und alles Gesülze über exotische Küche kann mir gestohlen bleiben…

  3. Arneyb says:

    13.: It is f***cking expensive

    But how about the aphrodisiatic effect ? Did You make Your own survey ?

  4. M says:

    WHITE Asparagus and GREEN Porsche(s) !

  5. p.kilkenny says:

    I will definitely try your recipe!
    I love asparagus!!

  6. Hubertus:OK: werden wir ja sehen!!!
    Arne: not telling you!
    M:YES!yes yes yes!
    P.kilkenny: it’s the easiest recipe in the world: more of a “throw together”. But effective!

  7. jj says:

    Hallo Gaby,

    was hier fehlt ist der “wilde” Spargel, der vor allem in den mediterranen Gegenden wächst. 2-3 Minuten blanchieren, etwas Olivenöl, Salz, Zitrone dazu – einfach gut. Ist hier schwer zu kriegen, hier ein paar Bilder:

    [img]http://www.23hq.com/dhania/photo/2498347/standard[/img]

    [url]http://www.flickr.com/photos/everydayholiday/3560593376/in/set-72157618732006038[/url]

    Liebe Grüße

    Jens

  8. Ja lieber Jens, Recht hast du, nach diesem suche ich schon die ganze Zeit. Klingt einfach köstlich!

  9. jj says:

    Gibt’s bei uns in der Metro, mache heute abend welchen. Foto folgt.

    jj

  10. maxamail says:

    Dear liebe Gaby,

    ‘Kirschen rot – Spargel tot’ diese Bauerweisheit ist schon lange eingetreten. Leider bin ich etwas hinterher trotzdem stimme ich dir natürlich vollkommen zu und möchte zur Bekräftigung deiner These zu Punkt 2 ein Studium des Textes von ‘Veronika der Lenz ist da’ empfehlen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRP1XAOM-nQ Alles klar!
    Zu Punkt 4 empfehle ich auch das sachte Braten der geschälten – selbstverständlich weißen – Spargel.
    Zu Punkt 9: Sauvignon Blanc ist nach meiner Meinung ausschließlich als Spargelbegleitwein erfunden worden – er passt perfekt.
    Zu Jensens ‘wildem Spargel’: Freunde von mir gehen regelmäßig im Februar nach Zypern wilden Spargel suchen und essen – es muss phantastisch sein.
    Nach dem Spargel ist vor dem Spargel!

    Maxamail

  11. Lieber Maxamail
    Nächsten Mai werde ich alle Deine Tips ausproboeren. Promise!!!

  12. sponge kitty says:

    I didn’t know that asparagus is available in white color. But I love your recipe. Aside from it is easy and simple, I like butter and parmesan cheese. Maybe I will try not to overcook or overdone asparagus. Thanks for sharing your tips.

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  13. Mike says:

    I too will only eat asparagus in season – you can buy it all year round in the UK, if you don’t mind it coming from Peru at times, but the English season is when I eat it.

    I like it with Hollandaise, and butter+parmesan, and aïoli. And to make soup (tip: if you have to cut away any woody parts, freeze them. Then when you’ve got a bagful, cook until soft, blitz in a blender, or with a hand-held, then strain, and use the liquor as the base for your soup).

    But I’ve found a new way I like, courtesy of the Leopold restaurant in Lisbon – with ground dried shiitake mushrooms and walnut cream.

    See a photo here: http://s3.postimg.org/etslut7wz/screenshot_522.jpg (not mine – I don’t drink red with it either ;-).

    From my experiments:

    Put the mushrooms in a blender/food processor until chopped up fine, but not a complete powder, then spread on a baking tray and dry out in a low oven (it turns out that “dried” shiitake mushrooms are still chewy – they need to be dried more).

    The walnut cream – pound walnuts with a mortar and pestle, with a little walnut oil to loosen, until you have a smooth paste. Mix with thick cream and then push through a fine sieve – it should be perfectly smooth, no grittiness. Season if you like.

    Serve as in the photo – lightly steamed asparagus with a sprinkle of mushrooms and a smear of cream. I can’t think of any reason why you shouldn’t make the cream and mushrooms in advance, then you’ve got a fabulous and unusual starter for a dinner party which takes only a few minutes to put together.

    Unless you dislike/are allergic to nuts or mushrooms, every asparagus lover should try this at least once.

  14. Chad Jaso says:

    I completely agree with your suggestion that boiling is almost always a sure way of overcooking asparagus.

    I will need to give your “best quickest lunch ever” a try.

    Thanks for the post!

    I don’t know how I have not run across your site before. I will be reading more definitely!

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