As I was looking through my recipes to pick up this latest on for asparagus, I realised that I have now 10 recipes for the stuff. Considering that as recently as two years ago I had none, that's pretty good going. I started to think about why I seem to focus on this ingredient each year. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I had never even tasted white asparagus before I came to live in the Netherlands. I reckon it has something to do with the fact that it's just everywhere at this time of year. The markets are full of the stuff, shops, every specialist in the country is creating their own recipe or including it on the menu somehow. So, that must be influencing me. The other thing is, and I'm being very honest here. The other thing is that I am not a huge fan of it. I can hear you gasping. I know I know. So why bother then? Well, I think it has become a challenge. I have challenged myself (unwittingly) to find a way of eating white asparagus so that I can enjoy it. This recipe is pretty plain and quite traditional. Last year I went to Belgium for my inspiration, this year I looked to a Dutch chef (actually he's a baker turned chef), Roelof van Veen. My next asparagus recipe is going to be a frittata, (or should I just call it an omelette), so look out for that very soon.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes (includes cooking potatoes and boiling eggs)
Cooking Time: 10 minutes (to cook the asparagus)
Ingredients for 4 servings
2 kg / 4.4 lbs of white Asparagus spears, cleaned and peeled.
60gr / 2 oz. butter (to cook with the asparagus)
500gr / 1.1 lb of new potatoes (if they are in season), boiled in their skins
6 x medium sized hard boiled eggs chopped finely
A small handful of finely chopped flat leaved parsley
1x tbsp (roughly) of finely chopped chives
500gr / 1.1 lbs good quality sliced ham
100gr / 3.5 oz. butter (to melt and clarify as a sauce)
Salt and black pepper.
- Place the asparagus in a large pan. Add water from a recently boiled kettle to cover them generously. Add some salt and the 60gr / 2 oz. butter. Cook the asparagus for about 7 minutes at a gentle boil. Once the asparagus has had 7 minutes, it should be almost ready. You can check by spearing the thickest part with a sharp knife. If the knife goes in quite easily, with only very little resistance it is ready. Place your slices of ham in the pan, cover it with a tight fitting lid, take it off the heat and set aside for 2 minutes.
- Mix the chopped eggs with the parsley and the chives, add some salt and pepper to taste.
- Melt the 100gr / 3.5 oz. butter in a pan. When it melts a sort of scum will appear, scoop this off with a metal spoon. This clarifies your butter.
- Serve the asparagus on your plates, all facing neatly in the same direction. Place the egg and herb mix over the thick end of the asparagus and the ham and potatoes on either side. Drizzle each plate with some melted, clarified butter.
Tips and Variations
- When preparing the asparagus, remove the first 2.5cm / 1in. of the stalk. This bottom part can be a bit woody.
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