They are beginning to show the tip of their buds, white asparagus (the ones in the Sandlands in particular, which have been marked IGP since 2015), green asparagus from Provence or even wild asparagus (not to be confused with asparagus from the forest that is not part of the family Asparagaceae, which are recognizable by their dull green color, weak, straight stem, and clear bud). In the stalls until the end of May, asparagus remains a gourmet delicacy.
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Originally from the Mediterranean basin, wild asparagus was very popular with the Egyptians during festive meals – frescoes attest to this. The Romans were also very fond of it. They even develop the cultivation of this vegetable which remains reserved for wealthy gourmets. For mysterious reasons, the Middle Ages avoided asparagus. Forgotten, they did not reappear until the Renaissance, when they regained a gourmet preference.
A luxurious product, especially prized by kings and princes. Henry III presented it to his favourites, and Louis XIV demanded it at his table in all seasons. Thanks to Sun King gardener, Jean de la Quintinie, they have become one of the star vegetables of the Royal Vegetable Garden thanks to their under-cover farming system.
Real nutritional traits
Until the beginning of the nineteenth centuryAnd the Century, this vegetable, refined and very expensive, remains the prerogative of wealthy gourmets. Then asparagus begins to become more popular and the crops spread. First in the Paris region, near Argenteuil, Bezons and Épinay, and then in the 1870s in the Loire Valley. Then I conquered Aquitaine, Alsace and Provence.
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Asparagus is famous for its nutritional properties, it is low in salt, rich in vitamins and trace elements and is famous for being low in calories … provided that you do not use the sauce three times to taste it!
On the market, they prefer very rigid products, with very straight scales that are glued to the stem. Asparagus should be eaten quickly after buying it, it quickly softens and loses its very lively and herbal taste.
Tips for preparing them
To prepare them, start by peeling them, especially the white ones. When peeling, place the asparagus on a plate and remove a thin layer of skin. This way you will avoid breaking them, especially if they are very fresh. For cooking, avoid completely submerging them in water to cook them. If you don’t have a large pot of asparagus (a high pot with built-in basket), make a bundle, wrap it in foil and tie it whole, loosely so as not to cut the stems, then cook the asparagus vertically, in a saucepan of boiling salted water. Let the ends protrude, from the water, they should cook much less than the stem.
Often the simplest recipes are the most satisfying for this delicate vegetable: savor it in dipping sauces with a boiled egg, finely sliced in a mandolin in a tagliatelle and accompanies it with clams, grilled on a cast iron plate and served with burrata and good olive oil…
Green asparagus with ham and bruschetta
Enough for 4 people
8 large green asparagus
4 slices of bread
2 very ripe tomatoes
2 green onions
2 sprigs dwarf basil
1 c. olive oil
4 slices of country pork
coarse salt for cooking
Fleur de sel and ground pepper
Peel the bottom of the asparagus, cut off the buds of the stem a little hard. Pre-cook the asparagus for 3 minutes in salted boiling water. Submerge them in ice water for a few moments, dry them and wrap them in half a slice of raw pork.
Place the asparagus wrapped in ham in a skillet without fat and cook for 5 minutes over high heat, stirring often. Meanwhile, prepare the bruschetta: Toast the bread slices in the skillet, next to the asparagus. Cut the tomatoes into small cubes, and season with finely chopped green onions, basil stripped of salt, pepper and olive oil. Spread this preparation on toast and enjoy sautéed asparagus.
White asparagus in tarragon oil
Enough for 4 people
16 Asparagus from Les Sables des Landes
6 sprigs of tarragon
8 cl olive oil
4 sprinkles of Gumacio
Freshly ground pepper
Using a peeler, peel the asparagus. Cut the base a little and immerse it for 6 to 7 minutes, depending on the size of the asparagus, in salted boiling water. Check the head of your paring knife if the blade fits easily through the asparagus.
Dry the asparagus under cold running water, then dry it on an absorbent paper. Spread tarragon sprigs and mix two-thirds of them with olive oil. Adjust seasoning with pepper.
In a large dish, place the asparagus at room temperature, sprinkle with essential oil, sprinkle with guamasio, and sprinkle with tarragon leaves.