We Austrians love our asparagus. At the end of April, when the season for our favorite vegetable starts, we already get excited and look out for the white and green stems. We basically love both types, but some people refer to the white asparagus as “white gold”, indicating some kind of supremacy. And indeed, this supremacy is reflected in the somewhat higher price.
Asparagus is offered in two different colors. The reason for the different colors is found in the growing process. The green stems are allowed to break through the surface of the soil and grow in the sunlight. And so they turn green. The scientific reason for this is that photosynthesis sets in when they grow in the sunlight. Even though I’m not the scientific type I thought I’d share this knowledge with you. 😉 The white asparagus, on the other hand, is covered with soil as it grows, so it is never exposed to sunlight and therefore stays white.
There is also some difference with regard to cooking. The white asparagus needs to be peeled before cooking (the lower ends only, not the tips!) and the cooking time is a bit longer. So, if you’re in a hurry, you should go for the green stems as the peeling takes quite some time, especially if you cook a huge amount of asparagus, as I usually do. But then, I rather prefer the white asparagus because I feel that it is more tender and less bitter. But let me know, what you think!
For the following two recipes I used white asparagus, but feel free to substitute it with green one.
The salad with the strawberries has a sweet flavor that is counterbalanced by the vinegar in the dressing. And the salad with the pork filet is a delicious starter as well as a main dish. Serve both salads with fresh bread!
And finally, here are the recipes for printing:
- 500 g white asparagus (alternatively: green asparagus)
- 300 g pork filet
- some olive oil
- salt, pepper
- 50 ml (1/4 cup) Marsala wine (or Port wine)
- 50 ml (1/4 cup) cream
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Peel the asparagus and trim about 1 inch of the ends of the asparagus. Bring water and salt to the boil, using a large pot. Simmer for about 10 minutes. (If you can’t get white asparagus, you can also use green asparagus, in which case you don’t have to peel the stems and the cooking time might also be reduced, depending on the thickness of the stems.) Lift the asparagus out of the simmering water and drain on some kitchen paper.
- Cut off any fatty bits of the pork filet and cut into ¼ inch slices. Heat some olive oil in a large pan and sauté the slices on both sides (about 2 minutes each side). Season them with salt and pepper. Transfer them onto a plate and cover with some foil.
- Add the Marsala (or Port) wine to the pan and broil briskly until reduced by half. Carefully scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the cream and allow to reduce a bit as well. Pour everything into a bowl and allow to cool a bit. Add the white wine vinegar and olive oil.
- Cut the asparagus in halves. Put the asparagus and the pork filet into the boil and cover with the dressing. Garnish with some basil leaves and serve with fresh bread.
- 500 g white asparagus (alternatively green asparagus)
- 180 g strawberries
- some garden cress
- 100 g strawberries
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- some salt
- Peel the asparagus and trim about 1 inch of the ends of the asparagus. Bring water and salt to the boil, using a large pot. Simmer for about 10 minutes. (If you can’t get white asparagus, you can also use green asparagus, in which case you don’t have to peel the stems and the cooking time might also be reduced, depending on the thickness of the stems.) Lift the asparagus out of the simmering water and drain on some kitchen paper
- Wash the strawberries and remove the green stalks and leaves. Cut them into halves.
- Purée 150 g strawberries, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sunflower oil and some salt, using a blender.
- Cut the asparagus into smaller bits. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon sunflower oil and cover the asparagus with the dressing. Add the strawberries and some picked garden cress to the asparagus. Sprinkle the strawberry dressing over the salad. Serve with white bread-