The white gold. Queen of the vegetables. Spring luck. The most flavourful taste of all. Heaven on your plate. White asparagus. I love them. In the Netherlands white asparagus are available in huge amounts between let’s say the second week of April until the third week of June. I like them most ‘à la Flamande’. This is the classic way to prepare; with ham, egg, parsley and boiled potato. From Limburg (South of the Netherlands) outside from cold soil the asparagus are the best, but nowadays one can get very good quality ones from other parts of the Netherlands, and even from ‘kassen’ (greenhouses) too.
White asparagus à la Flamande from my mother; with egg, ham, potato.
Riesling or Pinot Gris are typical grapes that go well with the white gold.
Serves 4 as a main
1,5 – 2 kilos of white asparagus (depending on how big they are and how much one eats. I usually eat 5 or 6)
6-8 peeled potatoes (again; depending on how big they are and how much one eats, I usually eat 1 or 2)
6 eggs, hard boiled, peeled and roughly chopped
200 gram cooked ham, roughly chopped in small cubes
80 gram of flour
80 gram of butter
hand full of parsley, clean and roughly chopped
pepper and salt
pinch of nutmeg
Peel the asparagus well with a peeler. Cut off the hard ends (not the top! these are the best). Keep all you cut and/or peel off aside.
After you peeled the asparagus and took away the hard parts, you place all the peels and cuts and hard ends from the asparagus a pan with about 1,2 liter of water. Bring it to boil and let simmer for about 20 minutes. You can (optional) add half a chicken or vegetable stock cube. If you have a enough peels of asparagus (= flavour) it’s not necessary to do this.
Place your cleaned and peeled asparagus in a pan with not too much water, just covered is enough. Bring to boil and when the water boils switch off the heat after 2-3 minutes, and leave the lid on the pan. Allow the asparagus 15-20 minutes in the hot water and make sure they are cooked enough by using a fork to prick in one.
In the meanwhile boil your potatoes too, and make the sauce:
Melt the butter in a pan and make sure the butter doesn’t colour yet. Add the flour, stir well and fry the flour/butter mixture for at least 5-7 minutes, in order to get rid of the ‘raw flour’ taste (not nice). Your kitchen must smell a bit like baked biscuits. Now add, bit by bit, the warm asparagus stock (without the peels etc.) to the roux. Stir well all the time. Continue doing this until you are happy with the consistence of the sauce (thick or thin, it’s all up to you. I like a thick sauce…) Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Now add the ham, egg and parsley to the sauce. Stir in.
Drain the boiled asparagus and do the same with the potatoes.
Serve direct on a plate, together with the sauce.
Delicious. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do, until the end of June.
Boiled white asparagus are nice as well with a piece of fried white fish and samphire.
Turn off the heat when the asparagus boil. Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes with lid on top of the pan.