Dining In 1 minute 02 May 2017

Recipe: German White Asparagus With Hollandaise And Parsley Potatoes

While this tasty vegetable is making a seasonal appearance in restaurants, a homemade version is a simple way to enjoy this springtime produce.

Spring is never complete without the harvest of delicious white asparagus. Grown completely covered in soil, white asparagus season in Germany typically begins at the end of April and continues to the end of June, depending on the weather conditions each year. Like wine, the soil type contributes to the flavour and quality of the harvest.
A top-notch German white asparagus is always freshly picked by hand, and can be identified by its pure white colour with straight spears and a tightly closed tip.

"To test the freshness of each white asparagus, gently press the bottom of each spear between the thumb and forefinger: a little water will emerge in the freshest spears," says chef Wolfgang Ranner, group executive chef of Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant.

While these earthy stalks are on the menu of most restaurants right now, chef Ranner shares that white asparagus can be bought at specialty food grocers and cooking them at home is no intimidating feat. Here, he shares a simple recipe for a classic German version.
RECIPE: Classic German White Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce, Sliced Ham and Parsley Potatoes

Parsley potatoes
1kg       Holland potatoes
3l          Water
6g         Table salt
100g     Unsalted butter 
10g       Chopped fresh Italian parsley

Boil potatoes in water. Peel and quarter them. Sauté in a pan with butter and salt.
Remove and serve with chopped parsley sprinkled on top.

Hollandaise sauce
100g           Unsalted butter (melted, keep warm)
Pinch of     Table salt
Pinch of     White pepper
2                 Egg yolks
100ml        White wine
20mg         Chopped shallots
5                 Black peppercorns
1                 Bay leaf

1. Place the white wine, chopped shallots, black peppercorns and bay leaf into a pot and simmer till liquid has reduced. Remove from heat, strain and keep warm.
2. Place a large mixing bowl over a bain-marie and whisk egg yolks until foamy. Pour in the white wine reduction and continue whisking until well-combined.
3. Add in the melted butter, whisking continuously over the bain marie until sauce is thick and creamy. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Poached white asparagus
1kg         Fresh white asparagus
5l            Water
1 tbsp    Table salt
½ tbsp   White sugar
½            Fresh lemon

1. Peel outer layer of white asparagus, align spear tips and slice off ends of the white asparagus to form spears of equal length. Tie white asparagus in bundles of about 6 spears each.
2. Bring water to a rolling boil in a large pot, season with fresh lemon, table salt and white sugar (to taste).
3. Place bundled white asparagus into boiling water, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for six minutes. Remove white asparagus from water when spears are al dente, but can be pierced easily with a knife tip.
4. Serve immediately with hollandaise sauce, parsley potatoes and ham slices.
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