By: Jordan Sapir
White asparagus, Spargel, is one of Germany’s best kept secrets. During springtime the shops and markets are filled to the rim with this springtime harvest delicacy. It looks like an unwelcoming amount of work, however cooking Spargel is quick, easy and worth the prep time.
Where to buy asparagus: If you’re short on time, you can grab asparagus from your local supermarket, but to reap the great benefits of the harvest, I’d go to a farmers’ market or your local fruit stand.
The perk of buying your asparagus in a farmers’ market like the Viktualienmarkt is that they will peel it for you for free.
Choose the asparagus. You normally buy it by the kilo. My rule of thumb if you’re having guests is to buy half a kilo per guest.
Kindly ask the vendor in your immaculate German if he can peel them for you, pay and tip the vendor.
How to prepare white asparagus: I always soak the asparagus in water to soften it and make peeling the stalks easier (if you weren’t lucky enough to have them peeled for you).
Peel the asparagus with a peeler from top to bottom. Cut off about 2 cm from the ends.
You can also buy pre-cut/peeled from the grocery store, but I was told by my resident Bavarian that this is a no-no.
Take a large glass baking dish. Cover the asparagus with 1 liter of water per kilo. Add some salt, a bit of sugar and a few teaspoons of butter.
Cover in foil.
Cooking time: 40-50 Minutes
Sides: Germans love to pair Spargel with egg, ham and salted roasted potatoes. Of course you can make this healthy meal borderline with Sauce Hollandaise. Don’t skimp on the price of the ham, you’ll be missing out on the delicate combination of a thinly sliced ham and the savory asparagus. Tell the butcher that you’ll be cooking asparagus and he’ll be happy to give you the best.
Save the shavings from the asparagus and make a delicious soup for the following day.