Last week, I was invited to a spargel (asparagus) dinner. While I rarely turn down an invitation to eat a meal NOT cooked by yours truly, I could not fathom why an entire dinner was centered around a vegetable. And, asparagus at that.
A second and a half Google search later, I found this website where I learned so many handy dandy, only-useful-for-nerdy-party-conversation tidbits about the German spargel culture.
For starters, the emergence of fresh asparagus at the market means that spring has finally arrived. The Deutschland crowd likes the white variety, not green or violet. The white variety is buried completely in mounds and then cut while still in the dirt. Told you this was only useful for idle Fête chatter.
The white stuff has to be peeled and then cooked according to whatever your tradition tells you. My host boiled hers, but others steam the stalks. If you choose to boil, you will be met with a myriad of very opinionated folks instructing you to add butter, not to add butter, a dash of salt is essential, you’ll kill it if you add salt, sugar takes the bite out, sugar turns the stalks bitter, and on and on and on!
As a white spargel newb, I wondered how it compared to green. It’s definitely more mild (good), but it’s missing the tender open heads (my favorite part of the green stuff). Also, I prefer skinny asparagus when consuming the green variety, but the white stalks are total fatties. And, the Germans prefer them that way.
At this hoopla, I was also served boiled potatoes, schinken (ham), and hollandaise sauce in accordance with traditional spargel dinner guidelines. We have to be authentic here, ya know.
For dessert, strawberries took center stage. Vanilla ice cream offered to accompany the fruit, but I upset the whole apple cart by bringing a homemade chocolate sauce. What’s better than fresh strawberries? Fresh strawberries drowning and begging for their life in a sea of chocolate. Yum-E.
Since I know I’m not alone in the chocolate loving world, look for a post with the recipe coming soon. Strawberries sold separately.