Yes, they’re coming: in a few weeks’ time KLM Dutch airlines will fly in several kilos of the delicate white stalks called asparagus or `the white gold’.
The delicacy is offered in a variety of dishes: in a creamy soup with smoked salmon and green herbs, with smoked salmon, hard-boiled eggs, red onions, capers and taragon mayonnaise, à la Flamende, the classical way of eating asparagus with butter with chopped hard-boiled eggs, melted butter, nutmeg and parsley; à la Hollandaise, with parsley, York ham, eggs and new potatoes, with veal medallions and sweetbread with new potatoes or with fillet of cod, fried on the skin, and a Hollandaise sauce. All simply most delicious.
A bit of information about the asparagus: it takes two years before an asparagus is fully grown. In winter the plant is covered with extra earth to protect it from the cold. Each plant grows about twenty to thirty asparagus stalks; when the tips of the stalks emerge from the ground, it is time to cut them. After five years the plant dies.
The asparagus was already considered a delicacy in the time of the Romans; it is also known that Louis XIV of France loved the white asparagus.
Preparing asparagus is easy: first you peel the asparagus and then it takes a quarter of an hour to cook it, depending on its thickness. The thicker the stalks, the more expensive the asparagus and the more time it takes to prepare. At the end of the six-week asparagus season, the price of asparagus is down a lot and just thin stalks are for sale. These are often used in soups.
It would be a good idea to make reservations for your upcoming asparagus feast at Papillon during the month of May: you wouldn’t want to miss this year’s excellent, tasty white gold!