Our Daily Dinner

Our Daily Dinner

May 27, 2010

White Asparagus

When the New York Times announced that white asparagus from France and The Netherlands had arrived in several stores, I dashed to Dean & DeLuca to buy some. Six asparagus, tied together weighted 1 ½ pounds and no wonder: each stalk was one inch thick, if not more. The price came to $12. In other words: $2. per stalk.

I have a special fondness for asparagus since I come from a region in Germany where white asparagus was an important crop. Banners were flying from restaurants, taverns, and inns, signaling that asparagus were on the menu. At home, we ate asparagus every day. And then, on June 21, the season ended, and it was over.


White asparagus
Veal Goulash Stew*
Wine: Willm Pinot Gris, 2008

To prepare the asparagus, I trimmed 2 inches from the bottom, and peeled the skin with a vegetable peeler. I then put the stalks in rapidly boiling water, reduced the heat, and let simmer for 20 minutes. As advised, I drained the cooked asparagus and placed them on a towel to dry and keep them warm. When ready to serve, I melted 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and added 1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs to brown. I transferred the asparagus on serving plates and poured the sauce over them and served it as a first course.

The asparagus was perfectly cooked. Alas, it lacked flavor. We were disappointed but not surprised. White asparagus is cherished for its subtle flavor. Apparently, that flavor does not withstand big journeys. In a way, I’m glad. There’s something to be said about enjoying food at the right time, in the right place.

To keep the asparagus company, I had bought a ready-made veal stew from the Hungarian Meat Market, the last remaining store in the former predominantly Hungarian and Czech neighborhood. The veal was nicely cooked. I added a bit of red wine and, to further spice it, a pinch of pimentón de la Vera, the Spanish smoked version of Hungarian paprika.

I’ll definitely buy the stew again. Next time, I might add some turnips and pearl onions.

*Yorkville Meat Emporium (212) 517-4635
1560 2nd Ave. & 81 St.


Food and Things said...

First, thanks for listing me in your blog roll (www.foodandthings.com). On the N.Fork, it's asparagus season; I just nuke them in the microwave with a dash of olive oil and pepper.

Our Daily Dinner said...

White or Green? I've had some comments in favor of green asparagus. Will buy them at the market this Wednesday. How long do you nuke them them?
By the way, we had a house in Sag Harbor for a long time. Miss it this time of year.