How to Cook Asparagus ~ Oma's Spargel 

➤ by Oma Gerhild Fulson

This traditional way how to cook asparagus, aka Spargel, is the most popular way that's it's made in Germany. White asparagus is the most common type that's sold.

Unfortunately, if you can't get the white variety, there's little that can substitute for its unique flavor. You can use the jarred white asparagus, if you can find it, but nothing's quite the same as fresh.

Traditional German Asparagus (Spargel) and sauce.

White asparagus is different than the typical green ones we get in America, but most Germans will say that it's the best asparagus there is. It takes a bit more work to prepare than the green one. It needs to be peeled and cooked longer, but the results are so yummy!

The most popular asparagus recipe is this simple one: boiled white asparagus served with a Hollandaise sauce, boiled potatoes and ham.

And, this is the recipe I'm sharing below. It includes a simple version of a Hollandaise-type sauce that my Mutti used to make with it. Easy German food, just the way I like it!

Spargelsaison (Asparagus Season in Germany)

During this seasonal event, most restaurants will feature special menu inserts that feature Spargel, and only Spargel ... in soups, and salads, as sides, in main dishes ... everything Spargel.

There are road side stands. There are farm stores. Asparagus is everywhere. It’s the season most Germans eagerly wait for with great anticipation.

Asparagus fields near Walsrode in Lower Saxony in Germany.

Traveling throughout Germany in the spring, you’ll see fields of covered asparagus rows. I took the above photo near Walsrode in Lower Saxony.

Local farms will have a wide variety of choices. White asparagus is sold, often peeled and sorted. You can buy just the tips, just the stalks, either thick or thin, or the whole stalks.

You choose just what’s best for your recipe.

Traditional German white Asparagus

Some farms also sell the green and purple varieties, but they’re much less common. White Spargel is the prized preference. Already peeled, it’s often displayed as the luxury item it is.

Traditional German white asparagus sold in the farm stores displayed with wine.

Above, it’s shown nestled on ice along with some local bottled wine.

Strolling through the shopping plazas in the big cities, you’ll see kiosks selling peeled asparagus. Sometimes they were being peeled, fresh, by hand, right there. More frequently though, they’re sold ready to be peeled fresh at home.

How to Peel Asparagus

Peeling presents a challenge. It does take a bit of practice, but the final meal is worth it.

  1. Lay the spear in one hand and using potato peeler, gently peel, starting just below the head. 
  2. Keep turning and peeling the spear until it is done. Be careful not to snap the spear. 
  3. Cut about one inch off the bottom. 
  4. The stalk is ready to be cooked. 
  5. The peels and the bottoms can be saved for use in making veggie broths.
German asparagus farms often have asparagus peeling machines to quickly peel the white asparagus.

Farms, such as the one we visited just outside of Walsrode, use machines such as this Schäl-Automat above. It makes quick work of this time-consuming job. Wouldn’t it be great to have a home version of this?

Grab your copy of Oma's favorite asparagus recipes in A is for Asparagus eCookbook

Take a look at Oma’s Asparagus eCookbook and enjoy the traditional taste of German cuisine!

Take a peek at all Oma's eCookbooks. They make sharing your German heritage a delicious adventure!

Green, Purple and White Asparagus

Green and purple asparagus are available in Germany, with the most popular and traditional being the white variety.

Green asparagus is the most common in the States and Canada having the strongest 'asparagus' flavor, sort of 'grassy'. To cook this, snap off only the lower fibrous end.

Asparagus, aka Spargel, sold in Germany comes in many colors, white, green and purple.

Purple asparagus has a bit of a fruity, nutty flavor, is sweeter and less stringy than the green variety. This one tastes wonderful raw. When cooked, it will eventually turn green.

White asparagus is grown without light by hilling and covering it. This keeps the chlorophyll from developing and keeps the stalks creamy white. This makes it much more labor-intensive to grow and therefore quite expensive. It is the most widely cultivated variety in Germany.

Most Popular Asparagus Recipe in Germany

There’s a one ALL TIME favorite traditional way of serving the white Spargel. Whether at home or eating out, this meal is a springtime must for most Germans.

The perfectly cooked asparagus is served with a wonderful Hollandaise sauce alongside boiled potatoes and ham.

Germans can make the sauce quickly and easily since the farm stores sell the sauce ready-made. My Hollandaise sauce recipe, below, is the very easy ‘Oma’ way to make it at home.

You can buy your prepared Hollandaise sauce right at the farm stores when you buy your asparagus (Spargel)

Oma says,

I KNOW some will say that the "Blender Hollandaise" is not a real Hollandaise! That's OK. You can make it the traditional way if you wish.

Personally, I like quick and when it turns out as wonderful as the recipe below, I've not gone back to making it the traditional way. This way, using the blender, is so much easier! And, I LOVE easy! :)

If you can't get the white asparagus, or it's too expensive, then do use the green one for this meal. You only need to break off the tough ends and cook for a bit shorter time. Personally, I really, really like the green asparagus. :)

Ready to make this asparagus & sauce?

German Asparagus with "Hollandaise" Sauce

If you can't get the white asparagus, or it's too expensive, then do use the green one for this meal. You only need to break off the tough ends and cook for a bit shorter time. Then serve with boiled potatoes and ham. Yum!

Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

10 minutes

Total Time

20 minutes

Servings:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

Asparagus

  • 2 lbs (907 g) white asparagus
  • 1 tbsp (13 g) sugar
  • 1 tbsp (18 g) salt

"Hollandaise" Sauce

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) warm water
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
  • ½ cup (114 g) salted butter
  • salt, cayenne

Instructions:

Cook the Asparagus:

  1. Using an asparagus cooker/steamer or a  large pot, bring water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Peel the asparagus, cutting off the woody ends.
  3. Add sugar and salt to boiling water. Gently place asparagus into the water and, once it is boiling again, reduce heat and simmer gently for about 10 minutes or until tender.
  4. Remove from water and keep warm until sauce is ready.

Make the Sauce:

  1. Into a blender, place the egg yolks, water and lemon juice. Blend for about 30 seconds or until frothy.
  2. Melt butter (either in microwave or on stove). 
  3. With the blender turned on, slowly add the hot butter to the egg mixture. Blend until sauce is thickened.
  4. Season with salt and a pinch of cayenne, if desired.
  5. Serve over asparagus and alongside some boiled potatoes and sliced ham.

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Unless otherwise noted recipe, images and content © Just like Oma | www.quick-german-recipes.com

03.06.2021 revision update

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Traditional German Asparagus with Hollandaise sauce. This is white Spargel at its best!
Traditional German Asparagus made just like Oma!

How to Cook Asparagus ~ Oma's Spargel



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How to Cook Asparagus ~ Oma's Spargel


Don't know how to cook asparagus, aka Spargel? Check out this traditional way to make it German-style, served with an easy Hollandaise sauce. Wunderbar!


Ingredients: asparagus, sugar, egg yolks, lemon juice, butter, seasonings,

For the full recipe, scroll up ...

Words to the Wise

"Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty."

Proverbs 21:5 (NLT)