It’s every German foodie’s favourite time of the year – Spargelzeit! The nation’s top vegetable is back on the menu (the Beelitz Spargel queen has officially opened the season), but the coronavirus lockdown means many of Berlin’s top asparagus spots are closed. No need to panic though: As long as the supermarket shelves are stocked with these delicious white stalks, you can enjoy some classic asparagus recipes at home. We’ve hand-picked three meals from the Exberliner archives to ease your Spagelzeit FOMO.
- 500g white asparagus
- 1 onion (peeled and finely chopped)
- 50g butter
- 800ml hot vegetable stock
- 70ml single cream
- Dash of white wine
- Small bunch fresh parsley
- Black pepper
Heat the butter in a large/ deep saucepan and add the onions. Cook on a gentle heat for 3-4 minutes. Peel the asparagus and chop into smaller pieces. Keep the tips to one side for later. Add the chopped asparagus to the pan. Pour in the stock and leave to gently boil for around 25 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and blitz the asparagus in a blender until smooth. Transfer back to the pan and on a low heat, then stir in the cream, white wine and black pepper. Add the tips of the asparagus to the pan and bring to a gentle boil for around 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat. Stir in fresh parsley.
Add some cream to give this a smooth texture and add plenty of fresh parsley. Serve with some crusty fresh bread and enjoy!
Kurhaus Korsakow’s Spargel Hollandaise
- About 200g fresh asparagus
- Salt, sugar, white wine
- 250g butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp water
- 3 tbsp white wine
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 bay leaf
- 2-3 allspice berries
- Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, Worcester sauce
Asparagus: Peel asparagus spears starting from about 1cm below the tip. Trim the ends if they are dry. Place the peels and ends in a pot of water and bring to a boil; after a minute or so, strain and return the water to the pot. Add the asparagus along with a little salt, a pinch of sugar and a splash of white wine and simmer until easily pierced with a knife, about 10 min.
Hollandaise Sauce: Melt the butter in a pot and clarify by skimming foam from the surface. In another pot, boil the white wine, water, bay leaf and allspice until reduced by half, then pass through a sieve. In a bowl over a pot of boiling water, whisk together the egg yolks, white wine reduction and lemon juice until creamy. Gradually add the melted butter while slowly stirring. Season to taste with salt, pepper, cayenne and Worcester sauce; serve with the cooked asparagus.
Tip: Add a stale bread roll to the pot while cooking the asparagus – it’ll absorb any excess bitterness.
Spargel Wrapped in Ham with a Mustard Cream Sauce
Ingredients for Spargel
- 8 pieces of white asparagus (washed in cold water, woody ends trimmed and lightly peeled)
- 4 slices of Schwarzwald Schinken (parma ham also works well)
- 150ml double cream
- Fresh parsley (a small handful and finely chopped)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 tspn Dijon mustard
- Black pepper/ salt
- Olive oil
Ingredients for the potato cakes:
- 6 or 7 medium/ large potatoes (peeled and diced)
- Handful of finely chopped chives or spring onions
- 2 small slices of butter
- 70g breadcrumbs
- 1 tspn cayenne pepper
- 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
- Fresh parsley (finely chopped)
- 1 eggs (beaten)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 tbpsn sunflower oil (for frying)
- Fine green beans (ends trimmed)
Add the potatoes with a pinch of salt to a pan of boiling water and boil for around 20 minutes or until soft. Drain the potatoes and add them back to the pan with the butter. Mash the potatoes until they are light and fluffy and then mix in the chives, parsley, lemon juice, garlic and black pepper. Leave to one side to cool down.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/ 190 degrees Celsius. Drizzle the base of an oven dish with olive oil.
Wrap 2 pieces of asparagus with a slice of ham and place in the dish. Repeat until all the asparagus is used up and put in the oven for around 15 – 20 minutes. Use a knife to see if they are soft inside, but still with a bit of crunch.
You can also place the green beans in the oven for the same amount of time.
In the meantime, heat the cream in a small saucepan and add the Dijon mustard, juice of half a lemon, fresh parsley and black pepper. Simmer on a gentle heat and stir occasionally.
To make the potato cakes: Roll the potato mixture into large patties using your hands (you should end up with around 4). Beat the egg in a bowl and pour the breadcrumbs and cayenne pepper into a separate bowl. Dip each potato cake into the egg and then coat in the breadcrumbs.
Heat a large frying pan with the oil. Once hot add the potato cakes and cook on each side for around 3 minutes.
Drain the potato cakes onto some kitchen paper and then plate them up. Add the green beans on the side and place the asparagus on top. Lightly pour the mustard cream over the dish and garnish with more fresh parsley and black pepper if needed – perfect!