Sunday, November 18, 2012

Asparagus Dutch Style

Grandma VandenBergh's Dutch cookbook, "Eenvoudige Berekende Recepten," has a recipe for a vegetable dish with white asparagus. We don't see this delicacy much in our part of the United States  --  it's considered a gourmet version of the more usual green asparagus. But the white variety is more common in western Europe, including the Netherlands. Although very bitter when sampled raw, it has a delicate flavor when steamed or boiled.

White Asparagus Recipe

- 2 bunches of white asparagus
- 2 hard-cooked eggs
- 75 grams (1/3 cup) butter or margarine
- grated nutmeg to taste

Cut or break off the hard ends of the asparagus stalks. Scrape or peel the remaining parts (do not peel the tips).

White asparagus

Tie the asparagus stalks into bunches of 10 or 12 pieces and cook thoroughly in boiling water with a pinch of salt (about 30 minutes).
Remove with a skimmer or slotted spoon and place on a serving plate with the tips all pointing in the same direction.
Snip off the string. Granish with slices of hard-cooked egg.
Drizzle with melted butter or margarine and sprinkle with nutmeg.

Asparagus garnished with butter and nutmeg

As the Dutch don't like to waste anything, the recipe also suggests using the cooking water and the cut-off ends to make soup. I had run out of eggs, so my version was egg-less. Incidentally, I found a very similar recipe in the bilingual (Dutch & English) cookbook I had bought in the Netherlands last year, which included ham and potatoes to round out the meal. So the Dutch have been eating this white asparagus for at least a hundred years, probably much longer!

Eet smakelijk! Enjoy your meal.

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