Have you seen white asparagus before moving to Germany? Have you noticed that there are white asparagus everywhere in Germany at the moment? It is the “Spargelzeit” now in Germany! Spargelzeit means asparagus time literally. It starts in April until end of June. It is the time when white asparagus are harvested. You will see white asparagus everywhere: in supermarket; in fresh market; or directly on the fields. So, what is the best and easy recipe to cook asparagus?
I have to say that I have never seen white asparagus before coming to Germany. I have only seen the green one before, and I thought that all asparagus were green. When I first came to Germany, I saw the white asparagus and I didn’t know what it was. One day, a German friend told me that it was asparagus and she said it was really tasty.
I was curious. So, I went to the supermarket and bought some white asparagus. However, I did not buy the fresh one. I bought a glass of asparagus. You can buy these in any seasons. The white asparagus are pre-made and stored in a glass with some liquid.
I had no idea how to eat it. I just took out the asparagus, warmed it up and tried it. Yuck! It tasted really awful!!! I had no idea why my friend said that white asparagus tasted good! And I thought I would never eat white asparagus again.
How I fell in love with asparagus
A few years later, I was with some friends in a restaurant. It was Spargelzeit again, and everybody was ordering the white asparagus dish. They told me that I had to eat asparagus with a special sauce called “Hollandaise Sauce”. Hollandaise Sauce is mainly made with egg yolks and butter. A traditional asparagus dish in Germany consists of white asparagus, Hollandaise sauce and white boiled potatoes.
I decided to give it a try again. And guess what, I was totally in love with it! Now, I am eating this asparagus dish almost every day during the asparagus season.
The traditional way of making white asparagus
If you go to a restaurant and order a dish of asparagus, it will come with the Hollandaise sauce and boiled white potatoes. The asparagus are steamed. There is normally no meat in this dish. The German eat the asparagus like a meat meal, with potatoes as side dish. At first, I found it quite weird to have this vegetable as a main meal. But now, I am completely used to it and I love it.
If you are trying to steam the asparagus at home, you can use a pan which is wide enough to lie down the asparagus. Or, you can use a pot which is tall enough to let the asparagus stand. There are even special tall pots for cooking asparagus in Germany.
My favorite and easy recipe of making white asparagus
Over the years I got a bit tired of the steamed white asparagus. I learnt another way of cooking it: baking in the oven. And here is my best white asparagus recipe:
(1) Prepare the asparagus
You need to cut the ends off and peel the stems of each asparagus. I didn’t know this in the past and cooked the whole asparagus with skin. It was so chewy that I could hardly eat it. They even have special asparagus peeler here in Germany, which can help you to peel faster. Otherwise, any normal peeler will work.
Do not throw away the skin though. It is really good for making an asparagus soup. The soup tastes much more intense when you boil the skin as well.
(2) Put the asparagus in an aluminum foil
Place all the peeled asparagus on an aluminum foil. Spread some butter, salt and pepper on the asparagus, depending on your taste. Wrap the asparagus with the aluminum foil.
(3) Bake the asparagus
Put the aluminum foil with asparagus inside into the oven. Bake for 45 minutes at 200 degree Celsius.
(4) Prepare the white potatoes
Meanwhile, peel the white potatoes. Cut them into smaller pieces (optional). Place them on a tray with some olive oil. They have to be baked around 25 minutes at 200 degree Celsius (or until they are soft). You can put them in the oven together with the asparagus.
(5) Serve with Hollandaise sauce
Once the asparagus and potatoes are done, serve them with Hollandaise sauce. You can either make the sauce yourself or buy it in the supermarket. I normally just take one from the supermarket (something like this one). Warm the sauce up in the microwave. Then enjoy your white asparagus dish!
Do you like the white asparagus dish in Germany? Have you tried making it at home? What is your favorite way of eating asparagus? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!