Thursday, April 30, 2009
Originally harvested as medicine, eaten by the ancient Egyptians, fresh asparagus are one of the best things nature has to offer. Asparagus (German: Spargel) are especially popular in Germany. The harvest time is from the second Thursday of April (or March depending on the region) until June 24 (Nativity of St. John the Baptist). Buy them as fresh as possible. The thicker ones are of better quality.
Today we crossed the border into Germany to buy them directly from the farmer: 500 gram each person. On the farm (in Herzebocholt, see placemark) we also bought new potatoes and cooked ham.
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Peel the asparagus, remove 3 centimeter from the bottom and cook 25 minutes (shorter if they're really thin) in boiling water. Serve with cooked ham, hard boiled eggs and potatoes. If they're fresh you really don't need any sauce. In Germany they're usually served with Sauce Hollandaise. Just melt some butter instead.
We drank a Pinot Blanc Cave de Beblenheim 2007 Alsace. A little too sweet but doable. In Germany they recommend Weißburgunder, Silvaner, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc grape, depending on how the asparagus are served. Update: Weißer Burgunder is of course the German name for Pinot Blanc.