➤ 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.
It's different than the typical green asparagus 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Peeling presents a challenge. It does take a bit of practice, but the final meal is worth it.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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. :)
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