It is white asparagus season here at Eckert’s in Belleville and across the globe, in Germany. Today, one of our culinary instructors, Sabine Vaughn, taught me how she grew up eating white asparagus in Germany. She replicated her mother’s traditional recipe for boiled white asparagus accompanied with ham, parsley and boiled potatoes. The asparagus was incredibly tender and mild-flavored thanks to a little salt and sugar in the cooking water.
As we cooked together, Sabine shared stories about how her mom used to peel white asparagus with a paring knife without even looking at her hands. Since we are little less experienced, we opted for a potato peeler and a close eye. We set each asparagus spear flat on a cutting board and grasped the tip gently with our forefingers. With the opposite hand we peeled the spear starting from just below the bumpy tip. Then, we refreshed the cut ends before adding the spears to boiling water.
Note: In Germany, peelings and trimmings are reserved for asparagus soup- another recipe I need to try.
After boiling the spears until they pierced easily with a fork, we plated the spears and topped them with finely diced ham. Sabine enjoyed eating Schinken with white asparagus in Germany. Unfortunately, she has yet to find the exact equivalent here in the states so we chose our favorite ham.
Traditionally, Spargel is served with a small pitcher of melted butter and Sabine has just the thing to keep it melted. She brought along a little, glass stand with an opening for a tea light. Genius!
Thanks to Sabine, you can to try this traditional German recipe with our locally-grown white asparagus. It is by far the best white asparagus I have ever had!
Eat well this Spring, Angie
- 1 tsp. table salt
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 lb of white asparagus, peeled from below the tip to cut end
- 3-4 Tbs. melted unsalted butter
Optional accompaniments :
- Boiled, then peeled yukon potatoes, about 1 lb
- Finely diced ham chunks or Schinken, about ½ cup
- Finely minced parlsey leaves
- In a skillet, bring about 1 cup of water, salt, and sugar to a simmer. Place the asparagus in the skillet. Boil the asparagus for 8-10 minutes or until spears are fork-tender. Remove from the pan, blot dry and place on platter. Serve with melted butter, potatoes, ham and parsley.