Buried treasure: white asparagus
In Germany and the Netherlands, green asparagus plays second fiddle to the white kind.
(Page 2 of 2)
Asparagus can also be cooked laying flat in a shallow pan. The recommended cooking time for white asparagus is about twice that for green asparagus, the length of time for both depending on how crunchy you like your asparagus.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Needless to say, visitors come to the Asparagus Triangle to eat asparagus as well as buy it, and the area's many chefs vie with one another to come up with new recipes and interesting variations on old ones.
In Chef Rockenwagner's opinion, the simplest asparagus dishes are often the best: "Serve asparagus just with mayonnaise or hollandaise sauce, ham, and new potatoes, and that's a good meal."
In Schwetzingen, the elegant dining room of the Hotel Adler Post, which has been in the Höfer family for six generations, is known for having the most extensive and imaginative asparagus menu. Entrees include asparagus with breast of quail in spinach with hollandaise sauce and salmon filet in asparagus stock with fresh morels. Among the dessert options is crème brûlée of asparagus with a cane sugar crust.
Brauhaus zum Ritter serves traditional asparagus dishes in an informal setting. Pazza's Garden, an Italian restaurant, is known for its white asparagus lasagna.
On the first weekend in May, Schwetzingen holds its Spargelfest, a sort of vegetarian Oktoberfest. Among other events, there is often an alfresco asparagus banquet in the magnificent garden of the elector's residence.
A well-marked, 25-mile-long scenic tourist route called the Asparagus Road winds through the triangle, connecting asparagus-producing towns and villages such as Ketsch, Hockenheim, Reilingen, Rastatt, and Karlsruhe.
Like Schwetzingen, these communities have festivals of their own that include asparagus markets and crowd-pleasing events such as asparagus peeling competitions. The world champion asparagus peeler, by the way, is a chef from Kiel in northern Germany named Helmut Zipner, who peeled a full ton of asparagus in 16 hours – a feat that earned him the nickname "The Asparagus Tarzan."
White asparagus with black forest ham
1 pound fresh white asparagus
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup oil-and-vinegar dressing
4 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled
4 large fresh basil leaves, shredded
8 thin slices Black Forest ham
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Trim the bases of the asparagus spears and peel the stalks with a vegetable peeler.
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil and drop in the spears. Simmer for 3 minutes only.
While asparagus is cooking, fill a large bowl with ice water.
Using a large slotted spoon, carefully lift the cooked asparagus spears from the pan and place them in the ice water. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, then drain in a colander.
Slice the avocado and mix gently with a third of the dressing. Season well.
Thinly slice the tomatoes and season with salt. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Drizzle with another third of the dressing and mix in the basil.
Arrange 2 slices of ham on each of four plates. Divide the asparagus, tomato, and avocado among the plates.
Drizzle the last of the dressing over the asparagus and scatter with the chives. Season with coarsely ground black pepper. Serves 4.
Source: German Agricultural Marketing Board.