The weather has been amazing the past week. Mother’s Day was exceptionally SUN-TASTE-TIC! Perfect for any al fresco get-together. And that’s exactly what we did last Sunday at the restaurant. We opted to sit on the terrace, with parasols just to cover our heads from the scorching afternoon sun
The dishes we ordered were refreshingly light using fresh seasonal vegetables. We noticed a common ingredient on every plate. Asparagus!!
Hubby looked at me and I, him. Immediately, I read his mind… Okay, okay, we have not had asperges op vlaamse wijze or asperges à la flamande or (white) asparagus cooked the Flemish way in a LONG time. He’s actually right. The last time I made this dish was in 2012! Boy that was eons ago. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!
A Healthier Version
White asparagus is hugely popular in continental northwestern Europe ie BE, NL, FR, DE, AT, CH, TR, IT, ES and PL. It is a spring vegetable, hence is freshest from late April to June. Hubby was persistent to have the dish again and he actually bought a bunch of super fresh 1kg-pack of the herbaceous, perennial plant. Did I have a choice? Erm… Don’t think so… Duh!
By the way, I have posted a recipe of this dish on this post, Asperges op Vlaamse wijze following the recipe of one of my favourite Belgian TV chefs, Jeroen Meus. To be honest, I like the dish, BUT the amount of butter used in the recipe scares me LOTS! The original recipe for 4 pax calls for minimum 300 g farm butter and 6 hard-boiled eggs. In this recipe, I have reduced the butter to 120g with 4 hard-boiled eggs. A fairly huge reduction, but we all loved the end result. I have also tweaked Jeroen’s method slightly.
Here’s the out-turn…
How I did it …
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 kg white asparagus (ca 21 to 22 spears)
- 120 g unsalted farm butter
- 4 free-range eggs, hard-boiled
- Fleur de sel, to taste
- Freshly milled black pepper
- A bunch of parsley
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Cooking asparagus is not difficult. The trick is to place the peeled asparagus (check out my recipe here on how to peel the asparagus correctly) in a large pot of cold water with a pinch of sea salt. It is important to use enough water to immerse and cover the asparagus completely. Heat the pot over medium heat and bring the water to a boil. Let the water simmer or bubble for a moment and immediately remove the pot from the heat. Allow the asparagus to rest for a few minutes in the warm water, depending on the quantity and size of the asparagus. I accounted for 10 minutes for 22 asparagus spears. Do the taste test to check for doneness. It should be crisp tender, cooked but not overly cooked. Remove the asparagus from the water and drain them on a clean kitchen towel.
Meanwhile, boil 4 eggs. Once boiled, immediately transfer the eggs to cold water. Peel the eggs and mash them lightly. Do not purée the eggs. Then mix finely chopped parsely while adding salt and pepper to taste. Grate some nutmeg and mix the egg mixture gently. Set aside.
Add 120g farm (unsalted) butter in a pan and let it gently melt over low heat. This Flemish dish requires using only clarified butter, meaning the white milk residue from the melted butter must be removed. Keep the clarified butter on a very low heat.
To serve, place 4 to 5 warm asparagus on a plate, then scoop a chunk of the egg mixture across the centre of the cooked asparagus and then drizzle some clarified butter over the egg mixture.
The original recipe says to add the egg mixture into the clarified butter and mix gently. I omitted this step. Instead, I drizzled the clarified butter over the egg mixture separately. That way, less butter was used and consumed per portion and the egg mixture was not a mushy mass. We could still see the eggs and the freshly chopped parsley with a light drizzle of the clarified butter. Sorry, Jeroen, I prefer my new-found method, and will stick with it. Without a doubt, thanks for the inspiration you have given me by unlocking the Belgian kitchen and putting big smileys on the faces of my other half and 2 boys.
I’m linking this post to #CookBlogShare week 19, hosted by Kirsty of Hijacked By Twins
This post is also linked to Tea Time Treats for the month of May 2016, hosted by The Hedgecombers and Lavender and Lovage
And to Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too