Asparagus season has arrived in Deutschland - oh boy! And what we are talking about is not just any asparagus but white asparagus. White asparagus is the absolute ultimate in German cuisine. Its appearance marks the only time of year when Germans will genuinely try and fight your assertion that their food sucks. Any other time, you're good. They'll be like "Really hard bread! Bland greasy meat!" and you can feel perfectly confident in shaking your head, knowing they will soon cave and be forced to agree with you, at the absolute latest when you pass by the window of a bakery and they say they just don't exactly feel like any really hard bread at the moment and you then feel perfectly justified in giving them a raised eyebrow and wan smile, which is a move to which no German has yet come up with a satisfactory response.
White asparagus comes in a variety of sizes. Here is the Arnold Schwarzenegger of white asparagus:
During asparagus season, the restaurants will all pull out their extra-special asparagus menu. This asparagus menu typically looks something like the following:
Boiled asparagus EUR 22
Boiled asparagus with a bit of butter EUR 32
Boiled asparagus with a bit of hollandaise EUR 37
Boiled asparagus with a slice of bread EUR 40
Well, it looks like that except the prices all line up. We are talking about Germany, after all.
Moving on. Not wanting to pay 22 Euros for boiled asparagus, and nursing my personal opinion that boiled asparagus sounds like a decaf coffee short of a wellness breakfast (that's an expression I invented - it'll catch on), I decided to make some asparagus a different way, namely in the oven. And I must say that it came out delightfully well. Here is what you need:
Some white asparagus (or green asparagus, if you are located both a) not in Germany and b) in a country (other than Germany) that does not realize asparagus can be imported or grown in greenhouses)
Some olive oil
Salt and pepper
White asparagus differs from its green cousin in one key way: you must peel white asparagus with a veg peeler. This is rather hard because the peel of a white asparagus looks veeeeeeery similar to the part under the peel, as follows:
|It looked more similar when I was doing it|
Once you have have successfully peeled asparagus (or given up and used green asparagus), preheat oven to 250 C (or 480 F). Put asparagus in a bowl with potatoes (washed and quartered) and pour a few glugs of olive oil over. Add generous few pinches each salt and pepper, then grate the lemon rind over everything. I know this sounds like a pain in the ass but I swear it adds a lovely tang. It's also not that big of a pain in the ass, you just need a cheese grater. Oh come on, just get one you effing lazy shit.
Mix well with your hands (at least wash them after if not before), then lay asparagus and potato pieces on a baking sheet so they're not touching each other. Leave in oven for around 30 to 40 mins, depending on whether the asparagus you've got is Arnold Schwarzenegger asparagus or more like Kate Middleton asparagus (pre-pregnancy - although even pregnant she still looks really skinny, whats up with that?). Then sprinkle a bit of grated parm over everything and put it back in the oven just until melted which will be in like 2 seconds. Squeeze the lemon you zested over and enjoy.
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I must repeat this was rather a nice meal, and I daresay that save for the peeling, any dumbass could make it. (Last I checked, there was no law that said dumbasses can't own cheese graters.)
|I ate the potatoes that should have been in that big space.|