Asparagus, in the Netherlands they are also called white gold. Why is that you may think, well it’s mainly because asparagus are so expensive! But let’s be honest, what could be more delicious than fresh asparagus. I for one love these spring vegetables, once they are in the stores, no matter what price they are, I buy them.
Asparagus is one of the first spring vegetables from Dutch soil. Asparagus are seasonal vegetables, the season runs from April to the end of June, they mainly grow in the south of the Netherlands and especially in the province of Limburg.
There are 3 types of asparagus, white, green, and purple asparagus. White asparagus must be peeled, and the green and purple asparagus can be prepared unpeeled. White asparagus grows underground and green and purple asparagus grows above the ground. Purple asparagus is a little bit sweeter and they are harder to find. One thing is certain, all three types of asparagus are delicious and can be prepared in different ways.
Asparagus contains almost no calories, is packed with vitamins and minerals, and is super healthy. Asparagus is very good for your kidneys and you can prepare them in so many delicious ways. Do you know that asparagus is known as an aphrodisiac due to its stimulant properties? These white stems were also called Points d’amour at the French court.
Fresh squeaky asparagus, where to buy them?
You can buy asparagus in a greengrocer’s shop, supermarket, on the market, or on the farm at the Asparagus grower and that is of course the best place to buy them. For example, you will find the tastiest asparagus in the middle of the Netherlands at asparagus grower Buijs near Utrecht.
Asparagus squeak! If you buy really fresh asparagus, you should rub them together. Growers call it crackling and it has to do with the moisture content of the vegetable. Asparagus consists of almost 90% water. When they remain in place for a little longer and are therefore no longer as fresh as new, the moisture disappears somewhat and they crackle and squeak less.
How to prepare asparagus.
Asparagus can be boiled, steamed, or grilled. The green asparagus is also eaten raw, but this is less popular. If you like to add some raw asparagus to your salad, shave or peel thin slices of asparagus with the thin peeler. When heated, asparagus becomes soft and tasty. Most people, therefore, prefer boiled asparagus. Asparagus can be grilled or roasted as well, depending on the thickness it is advisable to cook them for a few minutes before. The green and purple asparagus do not need to be peeled, you can immediately boil or steam them. Cooking time for white asparagus is about 5 minutes after which you let the asparagus, depending on the thickness, rest for at least 15 minutes. The cooking time of green asparagus is only 2 a 3 minutes.
Asparagus prepared in the traditional way
100 g butter
6 waxy potatoes
14 Dutch asparagus
1 tsp mace
1 bunch of parsley
250 g slices of farmer’s ham
salt, nutmeg, and freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a pan over low temperature. Scoop off the egg whites with a spoon. Pour the clear fat from the butter into another pan until you reach the white liquid. Now you have clarified butter. Peel the potatoes cut them into equal pieces and boil them in water with a little salt for about 10 minutes. Drain them and steam them dry. Hard-boil the eggs for 8 minutes, shock, and peel. Remove the egg yolks from the whites and chop them finely. Bring a pan with water, a pinch of salt, sugar, and mace to a boil. Peel the asparagus and cut about 3 centimeters off the ends. Boil the asparagus for about 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the asparagus cook in the cooking liquid. Before serving, heat the asparagus in the cooking liquid. Pick and finely chop the parsley.
Serve the asparagus on a warm plate, top with the ham and serve the potatoes on the side. Serve the egg whites, egg yolks, clarified butter, and chopped parsley separately.
Asparagus with smoked salmon, cream, dill, and Italian butterfly pasta
Ingredients, what you need for 4 people:
500 gr Dutch asparagus
400 g butterfly pasta
1 onion, chopped
Cooking olive oil
250 gr cream, cream cheese, or cream fresh
10 g fresh dill, leaves finely chopped
Salt and some grinder pepper
100 gr smoked salmon
Tip: instead of butterfly pasta usage tagliatelle
Peel the asparagus thoroughly and cut off the woody ends. Then cut the asparagus into coarse pieces and keep the heads whole. Cook the butterfly pasta in salted water according to package directions. Then drain, but keep a cup of the cooking water. Keep the cooked pasta in a closed pan. In the meantime, heat a large frying pan (large enough for all ingredients including the pasta) and fry the onion for a few minutes with a pinch of salt in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the asparagus and stir fry for 5 minutes. Pour the cream into the pan, stir and let it simmer for a few minutes. Finally, stir in the dill. Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the butterfly pasta into the sauce and heat briefly. This will make the pasta nice and soft again and you can gently mix it into the sauce. Add cooking liquid from the pasta as desired until you have a creamy sauce. Finally, stir in the smoked salmon, again gently mixing it into the sauce. Serve the butterfly pasta with asparagus, dill, and smoked salmon, and enjoy this delicious dish!
White wine and white asparagus
If you enjoy a nice wine with your dinner, choose a light, dry unoaked white wine with the white asparagus. Think of a Sauvignon Blanc, or a Pinot Blanc, a Riesling, or a fresh Chardonnay, but a sparkling Cava also goes well with asparagus. By roasted or grilled green asparagus wrapped in slices of Serrano or Parma, a red Beaujolais or burgundy tastes more than delicious.
Whether they are white, green, or purple, I hope you enjoy eating our Dutch asparagus.