Asparagus is available all year round, but spring is by far the best season to sample fresh asparagus. Last Spring, it was, by accident, that I passed by the city of Leuven. It was one of those few impromptu trips I made with my younger son to the city on a weekend. I couldn’t remember what it was that we wanted to do at the city, but I remembered ending up having “sushi” at a Japanese restaurant. The sushi was fantastic but this is not what I wanted to write in this post.
After our meal, we wound up at the Grand Place in the centre of Leuven and were astounded by a multitude of people thronging the square.
What’s going on?
If you looked closely at the picture above, the ladies were not posing in front of one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was a makeshift structure set up especially during the Agricultural Fair last spring.
I have never used white asparagus in my cooking; but I bought a bundle of these at the Fair because they were so fresh! When we went home, I was still not very sure what to do with those white asparagus. At first, I wanted to make asparagus soup. Nah! That’s too ordinary.
Then I remembered the Flemish (Belgian) version of preparing these asparagus. I got this recipe from one of the local Belgian chefs, Jeroen Meus.
The Belgian kitchen
The Belgian kitchen is the least known kitchen outside of Europe. To really know the true image of the Belgian kitchen, I noticed that “less is more”. This recipe requires very little, but topnotch ingredients.
12 white asparagus
200 g farm butter to make clarified butter (I used Solo Light. Next time will stick to farm butter)
A bunch of curly leaf parsley
4 hard boiled eggs
Peel the asparagus with a vegetable peeler to remove the woody layer of the asparagus stalk starting from the head down to the end, like so –
Wash the peeled asparagus and apply gentle pressure to the end of the stalk and break the thick woody end.
Fill a cooking pot with cold water and add a pinch of salt. Place the asparagus in the cold water and heat the cooking pot over low heat. Bring the water to the boil and immediately turn off the heat. Allow the asparagus to rest in the warm water and put a timer on for 5 to 10 minutes depending on the amount and size of the asparagus.
The asparagus should be al dente. Scoop the asparagus and drain them on a clean kitchen towel.
For this dish, you need clarified butter. Gently melt the butter over low heat. Once the butter has melted, stir gently with a ladle or spoon and remove the residual milk floating on the butter.
Keep the warm clarified butter over very low heat. Add the chopped parsley, lightly mashed hard boiled eggs, grated nutmeg, and freshly milled black pepper and salt to taste.
From the pure, simple and straightforward kitchen – Belgium at her best!
This was our starter that day! I concede it’s time I re-visited this dish because it was really YUMMY:-D
By the way, if you are wondering why these posting frenzies lately, I’m just “spring cleaning” my picture folders. There’re a million and one pictures I took the past years, just waiting patiently to be storied and posted. Slowly but surely, I’ll get there 😉
Anyway, I am also taking the advantage – this week in particular – to post and post and post….
For the record, the post will be late next week on as the author will be back to real(ality) work, so be warned 😀
See you soon.