It’s mid-April, which marks the beginning of the white asparagus harvest in Germany.
The delicious season begins in April and officially ends June 24, the feast day of John the Baptist (though you can usually get some after this date). Originally cultivated by the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, asparagus been part of the German culture for decades, dating as far back as the 1500’s. Germans today are crazy over this vegetable – eating their way through tons of it (I’ve seen numbers between 70,000 to 138,000 tons) over a period of approximately 7 weeks.
White asparagus is exactly the same as green except that it matures underground instead of above ground. As you pass the fields, you can see the mounds covered in a black plastic to ensure they don’t get exposed to light. So why the love affair with white asparagus? Because it tends to be more tender, sweeter, less bitter. I can attest to that. 100% accurate.
So how do Germans like to eat their asparagus?
There is really no wrong way, but based on all the years I lived and visited Germany, in my opinion the classic way (my favorite) is best: Al dente (cooked with a little sugar, butter and salt), served with clarified butter or Hollandaise sauce along with boiled new potatoes, a little bit of parsley (or chives) and ham.
The simpler the better. Let the asparagus shine!
I have always had this version as a main dish, but of course asparagus can be served as a side dish as well, alongside a veal cutlet, maybe even a bratwurst or mixed with sauteed mushrooms.
This meal brings back so many fond memories – the last time I traveled with my Oma to where she grew up in northern Germany to our cruise stop in Hamburg when family picked us up to tour the city and enjoy a wonderful classical asparagus lunch to last year visiting with my Oma’s great niece when I learned how to make asparagus soup. Too much fun.
Care to make some of this deliciousness at home? Here are the recipes.
Classic White Asparagus
Remove from pan, drain somewhat and place on a preheated serving tray. Serve immediately with ham, melted butter, new, boiled potatoes and Hollandaise sauce.
Creamy White Asparagus Soup (from site Just Like Oma)
Makes 4-6 servings.
Food has an incredible way of bringing people together, and creating lifelong memories. I'd love to help you discover culinary delights in Germany, or wherever your heart desires. Reach out to me today at 602.540.7338 or email Laurie@lakamatravel.com
Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder