This article was first published in the capital.
Recipes: In Norway, the first asparagus sprouts from the ground in May, but in Europe the season begins already in early April. Fresh white or green asparagus is a culinary experience in itself, but it gets better with sour sauces, hard-boiled eggs, or herbal sauce — not to mention a proper wine.
In Europe, Germany, France and Italy start the season. And traditionally, the best asparagus – white – comes from the Rhine along the Rhine. There, in the sandy and limestone fields, everything is ready for growing vegetables, which the Germans themselves call “white gold” and royal vegetables.
After one month, Norway also can offer good quality. If you live in central eastern Norway, you can also get access to some short excursions. Asparagus from Hvasser in Vestfold has been touted by many of the capital’s top chefs as the best. The fields here are only 10 meters above sea level, on light sandy and calcareous soils – ideal conditions for vegetables. Relatively warm spring days give for a long growing season, and if it’s too hot, salty sea breezes cool the open, sunny landscape in the afternoon.
Sour wine + asparagus = true
Asparagus is among the vegetables that are difficult to match with wine.
The reason is the high natural umami flavor content, which means that the asparagus must be heat treated. If you combine it with, for example, emulsifying sauces such as hollandaise, then the reaction will be perfect.
Dry white wine, preferably mineral, with enough fruit and noticeable acidity will give the famous link that makes greasy hollandaise sauce so welcome. If you’re suspicious of the sauce’s acidity, just switch to white wine with more fruit or remaining sweetness.
Acidity is a key word for wine selection. Wines like these from Sancerre in France, Germany and New Zealand are an obvious candidate, but effervescent varieties also work great.
The world’s oldest cookbook gives you the answer
In the Romanian cookbook Apicius ‘de re Coquinaria From 200 AD described in detail how to best prepare asparagus. The advice, every now and then, is that you should peel, wash and dry the vegetables before placing them in the boiling water – vertically, as the top flower needs less cooking time than the rest (stalk) of the asparagus.
In the modern era, there are a lot of about the same things, but with a tablespoon of salt for every tablespoon. liters of water. The rule of 2 minutes cooking time is always applicable to green, but white asparagus needs up to 5 to 6 minutes before a good sweet taste appears. Then unless you want to steam, shake or boil vegetables – the possibilities are many. The difference in taste between the two is often determined by the fact that the white color is extensively tested.
Recipe: White Asparagus with Coron Sauce
White asparagus with Coron sauce
12 white asparagus
500 grams butter
7 deciliters of water
1 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon sugar
1 deciliter of dry white wine
1 deciliter of white wine vinegar
4 teaspoons tomato paste
8 stalks fresh tarragon
10 fresh chervil stems
4 egg yolks
6 tablespoons toasted almonds
Peel the asparagus, and boil all the pieces in butter. It gives a lot of flavor to the butter that is used in the sauce. Boil a small amount of white wine and put it in a bowl with the egg yolk.
Strain the butter and keep warm. An asparagus slicer is also used to simmer the asparagus, along with a pinch of salt, sugar, and lemon juice. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes and drain the boiling water into a clean saucepan.
You are now ready to cook the asparagus and whisk the sauce. It takes about the same amount of time. Asparagus should be almost completely soft. White asparagus is rougher than green and takes a few minutes longer to ripen. Finally, serve the asparagus and sauce on the plate. Top it with almonds and some fresh chervil.
If you want to watch a detailed recipe on the video, step by step, download the Foodsteps app and search for “White Asparagus with Churron Sauce”. There you’ll find the recipe from the chefs at the Culinary Academy in Oslo freely available to anyone who reads Kapital.