Spring is spargel time in Germany. White asparagus replace spaetzle on the plate. Before you become concerned about too much nutrition in the German diet, spargel is smothered by hollandaise sauce. My brother is a chef, and offers a heavenly hollandaise sauce recipe to pour on your white asparagus or another favorite dish.
Germans call spargel, ‘Königliches Gemüse’ or the royal vegetable. The asparagus does not see the light of day until dug from the ground. With no photosynthesis, the color is white and the flavor is considered sweeter than its green cousin. The season is short: beginning in late April and ending on 24 June, or Johannistag/ St. John’s Day.
Spargel can be steamed or boiled, but you first must peel off the fibrous outside skin and cut an inch from the bottom.
Brother Doug is a professional chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. His hollandaise sauce is superb on white asparagus; Eggs Benedict; or other favorite recipes.
Chef Weber’s Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
6 egg yolks
12 ounces of clarified butter
1 juice of lemon
½ teaspoon salt
tt cayenne pepper (to taste)
1. Cook egg yolks and lemon juice over double boiler until mixture thickens (Approximately 175 degrees F)
2. Remove from heat; whip melted butter into eggs very slowly
3. Season to taste
The short season is celebrated with festivals and spargel queens. The white asparagus and hollandaise blends with many German menus: add a slice of ham; replace the spaetzle or sauerkraut on a plate of grilled brats; or chop it up into a creamy and cheesy soup. A German favorite heart-stopper is spargel with hollandaise sauce and Schweinshaxe, a giant roasted pork leg.
When traveling in Germany, you will know it is spring by the warmer temperature and all of the white asparagus being sold along the highway. When ordering it from a menu, request the hollandaise sauce on the side. Even during spargel season, you can get too much of a great thing. Bon Appétit!