Today Wendy from the ‘freshly pressed’ blog Chez Chloe will be sharing her rendition of a traditional German meal of white asparagus, hollandaise and lachs. Wendy, a french trained, former restaurateur of a much beloved bistro on Orcas Island, WA (named Chez Chloe), currently resides in Hamburg Germany, where right now is prime asparagus time. Her blog Chez Chloe shares her musings, kitchen expertise, mouthwatering recipes and adoration of vegetables from the sunny window of her Hamburg kitchen.
Having once lived in Northern Germany years ago myself, one of the times I miss most is “Spargelzeit” (Asparagus season). Those Germans love and know how to make a great meal built around asparagus. Lucky me, Wendy has been so gracious as to prepare me a virtual asparagus dinner, all the way from another continent, how cool is that? Thank you Wendy! By the way, when you get a chance check out Wendy’s food slideshows. Be prepared to drool…
Weiß Spargel aka White Asparagus, Hollandaise & Lox
Thanks for inviting me over to share a little taste of our Spargelzeit. Above is a shot of our most recent asparagus extravaganza. I love all preparations of asparagus…fresh out of the ground, lightly steamed with a little olive oil and lemon, or smothered in hollandaise, as long as it is hausgemacht (homemade) sauce and not one of the boxed variety covering every square inch of the store displays this month!
This weekend I prepared the infamous white asparagus with a lemony hollandaise, a little smoked salmon and lox, here garnished with lacy chervil. This is a classic. Or you might check out another one of my favorites in a recent post of mine, tucking asparagus in Buckwheat Crepes with a little prosciutto, gouda cheese and Mornay sauce.
The white asparagus in Germany are sold according to size and how straight they are. The thicker and straighter, the more expensive. You can pay a little extra if you want them pre-peeled. But the peeling is easy to do and personally I prefer to handle my own raw veggies. These asparagus came from the Altes Land, where we also get loads of apples, just on the other side of the Elbe River from us in Blankenese.
Here’s a little how to on peeling. The white asparagus do require a gentle hand. Hold them against the counter and lightly peel away from the tip down the stalk.
I cooked them in 2 tied bundles in salted boiling water for about 8 minutes or until a knife easily pierces through the stalk.
I prepared my hollandaise before cooking the asparagus. This is a basic lemony hollandaise I like. You will find many recipes all varying in slight degrees of ratios of yolks/water/butter. This is sort of a middle of the road. Please season it to your liking.
3 egg yolks 3 T water 2 sticks of unsalted butter, clarified 2 T lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon) pinch of salt pinch of cayenne
I like to make clarified butter, but you will find many recipes that don’t bother. Here’s a little random Q&A from everyday cooks on clarified vs regular butter if you are interested. David Leibowitz has the perfect post for clarifying butter.
I was taught to make my sauce directly in a copper pan. Often though, it’s a little less risky in a water bath. Here is a good link for the procedure using a water bath and you’ll see a little different recipe. You choose.
Eggs and water are whisked together…as I said I do it in the pan. If you use a water bath, start with your eggs in a glass bowl.
Cook on low to medium heat, constantly whisking in a circle 8… with a smile on your face… don’t cross your brows. These words of my culinary school teacher repeat in my head every time I make hollandaise or creme anglaise! Don’t be afraid to take the pan off the heat a minute if you think you are about to scramble them. Move it off..whisk vigorously, take a deep breath, then move it back on to the heat.
Once thickened (about 5 minutes), slowly dribble in the warm butter whisking continuously to create an emulsion (ideally). Remove from the heat and add lemon juice and season with salt and cayenne.
I get about a cup and a half… leave it set aside in the pan on the stove top to stay warm while you cook the asparagus.
This should be used within a couple hours. Or, if you are a risk taker like me, you’ll save it and warm it up the next day for something else yummy… but you didn’t hear that from me.
We have a fish monger who smokes gorgeous juicy salmon pieces…
And cures their own lox…
Time to plate up your hot asparagus, top with hollandaise and salmon, garnish with a bit of chervil…
Tschüß to you Jodi and friends. Thanks for the opportunity to hang out at Biscuits and Bobbins!…
Can’t wait to have you over my way.
I live in Hamburg, Germany with my husband and daughter. I love cooking, writing, eating and traveling. I try to keep love, personal reflection and humor a priority. Having a place to share all this with others is extremely FUN! ChezChloe @ wendyellenthomas.com