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Asperges à la Flamande

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ChrisFlanders View Drop Down
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    Posted: 31 March 2012 at 05:41

Soon the white asparagus will be in season. This is a real speciality from my region. One traditional dish that you should find in any restaurant over here, many times together with entire menus made from asparagus, is "Vlaamse asperges", better known in the culinary world as "Asperges à la Flamande".

White asparagus are grown in flanders for many centuries. They are mostly thicker that green asparagus. The taste is somewhat less pronounced than the green ones. The color from green asparagus is due to the fact that they can grow freely above ground. The white ones are covered with sandy soil to keep them growing in the dark. They have to harvested one by one, using a special tool to cut them under ground. The covering soil is not removed for the harvesting to keep the remaining stems growing.

White asparagus need to be peeled or they will be too stringy to eat. Peeling has to be done very gently but thouroughly from tip to heel with a thin-peeler, not one small strip of peel can be left. After that you take the asparagus and gently bend the last inch of the asparagus between index and thumb. It will snap off where the end woody part starts, this part is not eaten. Both peels and broken off ends can be used to make a fantastic broth to make an asparagus soup or risotto!!

One thing with the white ones; they have to be eaten as fresh as possible. When you can easily bend an asparagus without breaking it, it's not fresh anymore. A good way to preserve them a day or so, is to wrap them in damp newspapers and put in the fridge.

Asperges à la flamande

Very easy to make but so delicious, based on the perfect match between butter, egg and asparagus.

Start by hard-boiling eggs for 10 minutes. Leave to cool. Then chop both eggwhite and eggyolks separately, after that mix together again.

Also chop quite a lot of fresh parcely and mix with the chopped egg. You now have a nice "mimosa" of white, yellow and green.

Just before plating; melt a generous amount of very good butter on low fire without browning it at all.

Peel and boil the asparagus. Boil in slightly salted water for 5 minutes, take from the fire and set aside in the cooking water. Another 5 minutes later; test with the tip of a knife, the asparagus should be done when the knife slides through the thick end part easily. Remove from the pan and leave to dry on a kitchen towel.

Put on a plate, cover with the eggmixture and generously put melted butter over it.

This picture was taken last season.

I love white asparagus, take a look at some other dishes from last season;

Asparagus, potato, smoked trout, Hollandaise

Risotto - asparagus - rolls of omelet filled with serrano ham and fines herbes

From 2 seasons ago; raw panfried chunks of asparagus (totally delicious, don't let them color too much), potato, poached egg, Hollandaise, smoked German Black Forrest ham. Works also perfect with smoked salmon.

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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 March 2012 at 07:41
Terrific presentation as usual, Chris. What a great party dish that would make!
 
Personally I don't care for white asparagus all that much. To me the taste is so delicate as to be non-existent. But I know it's very popular in your part of the world, and is growing so in the U.S.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 April 2012 at 09:32
chris, i truly enjoy your creativity, plating and photography. thank you for such a wonderful-looking post! the asperges à la flamande is the picture of elegance, and i really would like to try it, along with the potato/smoked trout/hollandaise version.
 
since white asparagus is not available in my area, would you think that the green variety would work as well? would you think that any adjustments in ingredients, seasoning or preparation would be necessary with green, or would it be fine to prepare just the same as for white?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 April 2012 at 14:33
It'll work just fine with green asparagus, Ron. The taste won't be the same, because the green has a more assertive flavor. But it should be good just the same.
 
I'm sure you know this, but it's not necessary to peel the green asparagus---although they often do in classic French cookery.
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