Three ingredients, lots of pleasures


You wouldn’t consider asparagus, accompanied by new potatoes and basted with melted butter as fast food, would you? But what else would you call a great dish for lunch or dinner that takes only 30 minutes of preparation? Jamie Oliver would call it a 30-minute-wonder, I guess, and he would be right: it is a marvel you definitely should get into.

In Europe, asparagus represents the arrival of springtime, every region is proud of having the fleshiest, thickest white or green stacks, and there are numerous ways to prepare them. They make an excellent salad, they are great when pan-fried or grilled, steaming would be a good idea – but I cook them à l’anglaise, as the French say when they mean: in water. I only add some salt, some sugar and a knob of butter. And that’s basically it!

Don’t forget to peel the stalks and cut off their endings quite generously (because you don’t want to bite on the woody parts of asparagus!). Serve it with the best potatoes you can find, lots of melted butter and some not too dry white wine, say, a German Riesling.

6 comments

  1. I’m inspired. I’ve never ever peeled my asparagus (or added sugar) and I’ve never made white asparagus. Tomorrow is market day, I’ll let you know how my asparagus à l’anglaise/French Food Fool turn out.

    • Thank you, tiresomemoi, as long as you use green asparagus there’s no need to peel it – so you’ve done everything alright!
      For the white guys, here’s some deeper advice: Peel them thoroughly and cut off the ends. Take these leftovers, throw them in a lot of water with two tablespoons of salt, one tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of butter, heat, bring to a boil and cook it for, say 15 minutes in order to prepare kind of an asparagus “stock”. Extract the leftovers, THEN put in the asparagus and let cook. For how long? Well, that’s your decision, depending on size, thickness and how you like it. 20 minutes should be too long, 10 minutes too short. Somewhere in between should be fine. You can test your white asparagus by balancing a stalk on a fork during cooking – if it doesn’t move at all, it’s not done. If it really hangs down to both sides, it’s overdone. If it bends a little bit, being still kind of firm – it should be perfect. Good luck!!

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