Hands-down, my absolute favorite season is spring! Back in my home of Bavaria, nothing says spring like crisp morning sunshine, song birds celebrating the long-awaited explosion of blossoms and blooms with excited song and dance, people – lightened of their load of winter coats and scarves – enjoying the spectacle of spring in beer gardens and side walk cafes while soaking up the gentle sunshine.
During this exciting time of renewal, you will hear and read the term “Spargelzeit”. This means that the typical white asparagus is finally back in season! It belongs to spring time like songbirds and blossoms.
Local Bavarian asparagus is grown in the geographical triangle between Munich, Ingolstadt and Augsburg, where the sandy soil affords this type of asparagus its typical nutty flavor. Recipe varieties around this healthy harbinger of spring are endless, but we want to share the classic with you, which can be found eaten at restaurants and homes during asparagus season.
White Asparagus with Sauce Hollandaise and Potatoes
- 500 grams (1 pound) firm potatoes
- 1 kilo (2 pounds) white asparagus
- Lemon juice
For the sauce Hollandaise:
- Half a lemon (organic)
- 250 grams (8 oz) butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 75 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine (e.g. Pinot Blanc d’Alsace, Silvaner, or even the Austrian staple Güner Veltliner)
- If desired, a sprinkle of nutmeg
For the potatoes:
- 2 tsp butter
- 2 tsp freshly chopped parsley
Make sure white asparagus has been handled properly to prevent if from drying out, otherwise you will be chewing twigs. Once it’s harvested, white asparagus must be kept in a moist environment and it’s best to prepare it as soon as possible after purchase.
1. Peel the potatoes and boil them in salt water for about 30 minutes or until tender.
2. In the meantime, use a sharp vegetable peeler to carefully skin the asparagus (working from just below the tender tip to the firmer bottoms) and remove the hard ends.
3.Bring a good amount of water with some salt, a pinch of sugar, and a dash of lemon juice to a simmer in a large pot.
4.Turn down the heat, place the asparagus in the pot and leave in the hot water it until soft, about 20 minutes.
Preparing the Hollandaise
1.In the meantime, juice the lemon for the sauce.
2.In a stainless steel mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks, salt, the remaining lemon juice, and wine until light and frothy. If you like, you can add a pinch of nutmeg. Do the mixing carefully over low heat on the stove or place the mixing bowl over lightly simmering water in a pot.
3.In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.
4.Remove sauce pan from heat and drizzle the melted butter carefully into the frothy egg mixture while continuing to stir. Stir the mixture until the sauce becomes thick and glossy and about double in size.
Putting it together:
1.Drain the potatoes and place the pan with the potatoes back on the hot burner and steam them dry shaking the pot a few times so the remaining water evaporates.
2.Add some butter so it melts over the hot potatoes and sprinkle them with the chopped parsley.
3.Carefully remove the cooked asparagus from the pan and place on a pre-warmed serving tray.
4.Sprinkle it with the sauce Hollandaise and serve immediately with the potatoes on the side.
Though it is not a wine recommendation to go alongside this dish, another spring staple in my home region is the seasonal frizzy Federweisser wine! I’ll tell you more about this delicious spring phenomenon another time.
Recipe adapted from eatsmarter.de.