Green and white asparagus are essentially the same plant – grown differently. The West of Europe is a fan of white asparagus, which now, in June, are in season and abundantly grace every table at the farmer’s market. In the United States, white asparagus is available all through summer, but you might have to ask for it at your supermarket.
The ingredients above are what we prepared for a rich lunch last Saturday while visiting my friend Mina in Amsterdam.
Mina, on her way back from Belgium (which sounds far, but it’s really not) picked up a couple of pounds of asparagus from her neighbor. Then we enjoyed it the way the Flemish do. To make the recipe, you first need to prepare some basic ingredients, which then everyone assembles themselves on a plate.
1. Boiled white asparagus (boil for a few minutes until slightly tender). Sometimes they add sugar to the water, which I consider sacrilege.
2. Boiled and chopped eggs. Boil only for 6 minutes as you don’t want them to be too hard and crumbly inside.
3. Boiled young potatoes. Keep the skin, most nutrients are right below.
4. Chopped high quality ham, fat trimmed.
5. A stick of melted butter.
6. Chopped chives to decorate
7. Nutmeg and salt to taste
After you place everything on the table, hand a plate to your guests and arrange as follows:
asparagus, eggs, ham, potatoes, drizzle with melted hot butter, season with salt and nutmeg.
I personally really like white asparagus, but if you prefer their less creamy and more substantial tasting relatives, the green asparagus, you can prepare them instead. Something is telling me that grilled green asparagus and chopped cooked bacon will take this dish a step further in the direction of decadence. White or green, your choice!